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Ferguson drops 40 on Evans

Lady Devils win by 53

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    With a near capacity crowd on hand Saturday, seniors Eric Ferguson and Rashad Lee knew what they had to do. The former exploded for 40 points while the latter put the exclamation point on a 56-39 win over Evans on Senior Night.
    “It just starts with leadership,” said Ferguson. “I just had to play an inside-out game and tonight was my night.”
    Ferguson had 12 points in the first, nine in the second and third and 10 in the fourth. He was 17-for-29 from the line and had seven rebounds.
    “Eric came out with a big night,” said SHS coach Lee Hill. “We spread (Evans) out so Eric could go one-on-one because I thought they would have a match-up problem (with Ferguson).”
    While Ferguson continued to rack up point after point it was his assist to Rashad Lee that broke the back of the visitors from Augusta.
    With 2:50 left, Ferguson broke on a fastbreak, dishing to Lee on a 2-on-1. Lee went up with two hands and slammed the ball down over an Evans defender to make the score 46-31 and demoralize EHS (16-6, 3-4 Region 3-AAAA).
    “Coach was talking to me a lot, talking to me about picking it up,” said Lee. “I listened hard, went out and brought it.”
    Lee finished with 13 boards and seven points, five in the fourth quarter. Twenty eight seconds after his two-handed stuff, Lee jammed the ball with one hand to bring the keys out of the pockets of the home faithful.
    The Blue Devils (12-9, 6-1 Region 3-AAAA) made a concerted effort to slow the game down, having lost to Evans 66-49 in the first meeting — a fast paced, up-and-down contest.
    “We went to their home and we let them run — we played their game,” said Hill. “Tonight we came out and were a little more patient and we played our game.”
    Statesboro outscored EHS 9-4 in the third quarter and held a 33-22 advantage after three. Evans shot just 7-of-38 through three quarters. Once they got their shots to fall in the fourth, the Devils had milked the clock and stretched the lead to far to allow a comeback.
    Statesboro opened the game with a 15-3 first frame as Evans made just one shot. The final play of the quarter came on Ferguson fade away jumper on which he was fouled. He failed to convert the 3-point play, but Lee dunked home the rebound.
    Statesboro went 2-for-10 in the second, but still held a 24-18 lead at the break. Six points would be as close as Evans would come.
    Statesboro went 20-for-42 from the line as a team. Jonathan Nicely had a double-double for Evans with 17 rebounds and 13 points.
    Statesboro heads to the Academy of Richmond County on Friday. A win gives SHS the No. 1 seed going into the region tourney out of the North Division.
Lady Blue Devils 69, Lady Knights 16
    Monnette Bennett had 20 points and 10 different Blue Devils scored as Statesboro rolled over Evans, 69-16.
    Bennett, along with Victoria Mikell, Kittrella Mikell, Tiffany Lee, Gwen Jones, Jasmine Houston and Crystal Smith, were all honored after the game for their contributions as seniors.
    “They’re just a special group of kids,” said SHS coach Jeff Seier. “They work real hard in the classroom. They’re nice to their classmates. They’re nice to their teammates and they represent the school well. It just so happens that they’re basketball players, but they’re also really good people.”
    Each of the seven seniors scored Saturday in a mismatch of two teams. The Lady Knights (1-19, 0-6 Region 3-AAAA) trailed 10-5 after one, but never got anywhere near closer.
    Statesboro (18-3, 6-1 Region 3-AAAA) built a 34-13 lead at the half, then held EHS scoreless in the third to go up 57-13. The Lady Devils can wrap-up the region’s No. 1 seed with a win at the Academy of Richmond County on Friday.
    Kittrella Mikell added 11 for SHS and Lee had 12 rebounds and eight points.
    Bennett was honored at halftime of the boys’ contest with her McDonald’s All American nomination.

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