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Devils leave the den in style

Devils leave the den in style

Devils leave the den in style

Statesboro's Zaquavian Smith gets fre...


    Statesboro sent its 10 seniors off in style on Friday night as the boys and girls combined to sweep a doubleheader against Wayne County at the Devil’s Den.
    In the boys matchup, Statesboro (18-6, 4-1 Region 3-AAAA) began the game on a 10-2 run and never looked back, stretching the lead along the way to put up a 79-40 victory.
    “It was great to have our seniors step up big,” SHS coach Lee Hill said. “We changed up our starting lineup to get our seniors in there. They responded really well and were a big part of the win.”
    Junior guard O’Aaron Ware continued his breakout season, leading all scorers with 22 points. Jaylen Rawls celebrated his Senior Night with one of the best performances of his career. Rawls racked up 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to establish himself on both ends of the floor.
    Statesboro jumped out to an 18-8 lead after the first quarter and Ware single-handedly put things away in the second quarter. Three times, Ware stripped a Wayne County (6-16, 1-4) ball handler and converted the turnover into a layup. Rawls added a pair of jumpers in the quarter and the Devils carried a 31-20 lead into halftime.
    Kody Washington (13 points) hit a 3 to try and spark a Yellow Jacket charge in the third quarter, but Statesboro quickly blew its opponent out of the water.
    Michael Salomon gathered an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper to stop the Wayne County momentum and Zaquavian Smith (14 points) slammed home dunks on back-to-back possessions to open up a 43-22 advantage for the Devils.
    Wayne County never threatened another comeback attempt and Statesboro continued to pull away over the final quarter.
    The defending Final Four team and Region 3-AAAA champs from a year ago were dealt a big blow when Liberty County invaded the Devil’s Den to claim a win on Jan. 2 in Statesboro’s first sub-region matchup. Since then, the Devils have been hitting on all cylinders and control their own destiny in the race for a No. 1 seed at the region tournament.
    “We definitely didn’t start (region play) like we wanted,” Hill said. “I’m very happy with how everyone has responded. The important thing is to be playing well at the end of the season. I think that’s where we’re at right now.”
   
SHS girls coast to win
    The Lady Blue Devils hardly broke a sweat in cruising to a 61-29 victory in Friday’s first varsity game.
    Shanikwa Buie led all scorers with 16 and Tanice Johnson added 11 for Statesboro.
    The Devils hit the gas early and never let up. Statesboro led 34-19 at halftime and extended their lead in the second half to put the mercy clock in motion over the final quarter.
    “It’s always good to have those games where everyone gets to play,” SHS coach Jeff Seier said. “I think we played at a pretty good level tonight. That’s where we need to be at this point in the season.”
    Wayne County (5-16, 0-5 Region 3-AAAA) was thoroughly outplayed from the opening tip. Chavazz Wilson netted 11 points, but no other Lady Yellow Jacket scored more than six.
    With the win, Statesboro improved to 15-9 overall, 3-2 in Region 3-AAAA play, and pulls into a tie with Liberty County for the No. 2 spot in the sub-region. Both squads have one sub-region game remaining and a tie-breaker my be necessary to determine which school receives the No. 2 seed in the region tournament.
    Statesboro’s boys and girls end their regular season schedules next Friday with a trip to South Efiingham.

Statesboro JV boys stay hot
    Before varsity action began Friday night, Statesboro’s junior varsity boys continued their impressive run.
    Cameron Harvey led all scorers with 19 points and Juquavis Byrd added eight more as the Devils routed Wayne County by a score of 64-37.
    With the win, Statesboro ran its record to 15-1.

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

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