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Devils grind out win

Devils grind out win

Devils grind out win

Statesboro guard O'Aaron Ware slices ...

    For a second consecutive night, Statesboro had to grind out a win in a defensive struggle.
    The Blue Devils never held a lead of more than eight points, but rarely trailed and finished strong in notching a 44-40 victory over Bradwell Institute Saturday night at the Devil’s Den.
    Bradwell (12-8) was even with the Devils (14-5) with just 5:32 to play, but Michael Salomon (seven points) hit a pair of clutch put-backs off of offensive rebounds and Akeem Oglesby (nine points) hit three of four free throws down the stretch to escape with a win.
    “We had some guys really step up at the end of the game,” SHS coach Lee Hill said. “We haven’t bee scoring a lot of points lately. We want to improve on that, but it’s good to see that we can play good defense and beat a good team in a close game.”
    It was clear from the start that neither offense was going to have an easy night.
    Nearly half of the first quarter elapsed before the game’s first points were registered and Statesboro was up just 10-7 after the first eight minutes of play.
    Oglesby and Marvin Perkins each connected on 3s in the second quarter while Bradwell’s Malcolm Dingle (15 points) was productive in the paint to keep the Tigers in contention.
    O’Aaron Ware — who led Statesboro with 12 points — hit a pair of jumpers in the third quarter to stretch the Devils’ advantage, but Bradwell mounted a 6-0 run to close within 30-28 with one quarter to play.
    “We knew we’d have our hands full with (Bradwell),” Hill said. “They’re a good team who gave us a good game the first time we played them. It’s always tough to beat the same team twice.”
    Dingle had an open look that could have tied the game at the 1:02 mark, but his 3-point attempt fell just short.
    Oglesby hit a pair of free throws with 22.1 seconds remaining to put the Devils up 43-38. Jamorris Hill responded with two free throws for the Tigers, but Oglesby sank one more from the charity stripe with 14.7 seconds to go and two missed shots by Bradwell sealed the win for Statesboro.
Statesboro girls coast to win
    Statesboro’s girls had a much easier time in the early game, holding a steady lead throughout the evening on their way to a 50-29 victory.
    Fresh off of scoring her 1,000th career point last weekend, Shanikwa Buie kept her foot on the gas, leading all scorers with 20 points.
    For the Lady Blue Devils (14-8), things seem to be coming together at just the right time.
    “We’re still working on growing up,” SHS coach Jeff Seier said. “But I think we’re coming along. We’re maturing as far as basketball skills go, but we’re running out of season. This was a good win and next week will be a big one for us.”
    Statesboro held a 30-21 lead at halftime and put the game in hand in the third quarter by limiting the Lady Tigers (5-13) to just two points.
    It was all downhill from there as Statesboro continued to pull away throughout the final eight minutes of play.
    The Statesboro boys and girls both got boosts to their confidence with Saturday’s wins, but both still sit at 2-2 in Region 3-AAAA play. Both Devils squads will get a few days of rest before trying to get above the .500 mark in region play Friday as they host Wayne County.

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

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