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Strong finish

Yellow Jackets knock off Islands

Strong finish

Strong finish

Southeast Bulloch's Kaelin Jones, bot...

    BROOKLET — Southeast Bulloch stormed out of the gate, struggling through two quarters before pulling away late for a 71-53 win over Islands Tuesday night.
    The Yellow Jackets (11-6, 8-3 Region 1-AAA) looked dominant in the opening minutes. Sheldon Hendrix (18 points) and Lamont Ballard (nine points) each canned 3-pointers during a 10-0 run in the opening minutes and the Jackets held a 23-8 advantage after the first quarter.
    In the second period, Jabril Bailey (17 points) helped the Sharks (1-15, 0-11) to fight back. Bailey hit a pair of jumpers early in the quarter and connected on two more as SEB sent its reserves in to get some playing time.
    “Give Islands a lot of credit,” SEB coach John Page said. “We knew that they wouldn’t back down and they didn’t. They scored some on our bench early, but our bench was a big factor late. I’m confident in all of our guys moving forward.”
    Things nearly ground to a halt in the second half.
    Kaelin Jones (10 points) gave the Jackets a 41-28 edge with an inside bucket on the first possession of the second half, but his layup was the only SEB field goal of the third quarter.
    Marlen Bowen (16 points) started to heat up for the Sharks and the Jackets had to rely on a 7-of-8 performance from the free throw line to carry a 49-41 lead into the final quarter.
    That margin was as close as Islands could get as Josh Davis broke the Jackets’ cold streak from the field and Hendrix poured in a midrange floater.
    A 6-0 run compiled by Hendrix, Markel Ming and Jalen Tolliver stretched the lead back to 20 points and the Sharks couldn’t mount another comeback attempt.
    Three Islands players — including Bailey — fouled out over the final five minutes, sapping the Sharks’ scoring ability and allowing the Jackets to build on their lead from the free throw line.
    “We know that every night is a challenge in this region,” Page said. “I thought we did a good job of staying strong in the fourth quarter. We need that same type of effort in some big games that are coming up.”
Lady Jackets 67, Lady Sharks 35
    The Southeast Bulloch girls stayed red-hot in Region 1-AAA play, defeating Islands (0-15, 0-10) by a count of 67-35 in Tuesday’s opening game.
    Philicia Batton (15 points), Destiny Burke (12) and Jasmine Roberts (10) all scored in double-digits and 11 of the 12 Lady Yellow Jackets (12-6, 8-3) who dressed out were able to find their way into the points column.
    “Last time we played (Islands) they gave us fits,” SEB coach Johnnie Miller said. “I thought we did a better job this time around. We’re kind of getting into a rhythm. We control our own destiny in the region, which is exactly where we want to be.”
    SEB exploded for 22 points in the opening period and held a commanding 37-19 lead by halftime.
    The Jackets’ reserves didn’t relinquish the momentum when they subbed in early in the fourth quarter and the SEB advantage hovered around 30 points as both teams were content to run out the final minutes.
    Southeast Bulloch’s boys and girls must hit the road for their next region test as the Jackets travel to Blackshear to take on Pierce County Friday.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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