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Area basketball teams charging down the stretch
Portal Basketball
Portal sophomore Amir Jackson attempts to go up for a shot while Bryan County's Chris Winfree lands on his back in Tuesday's region matchup at Portal. - photo by JOSH AUBREY/staff

As area high school basketball teams wrap up the regular season and prepare for region tournaments some teams are closer to getting the top spot while others are slipping.

Tuesday in Portal the Panthers host Bryan County in a battle for the top spot in the region. Bryan County knocked off Portal earlier in the season 59-57 when the Panthers were still an incomplete squad due to suspensions. Tuesday Portal was at full strength and at home but once again Bryan County had their number as they came away with a 73-70 victory wrapping up the regular season with the top spot.

The game went back-and-forth throughout and in the fourth quarter Portal maintained a three point lead until late in the fourth when Bryan County heated up. With just under a minute to play Devontae Bowers hot a layup to give Bryan County a 68-67 lead. The Panthers turned the ball over on their next possession and Jamal Campbell scored and was fouled with 20 seconds left.

Campbell’s free throw gave Bryan County a 71-67 lead. Joe Thomas quickly hit a three pointer to trim the lead to 71-70 with 10 seconds left. Bowers would be fouled and made both free throws to extend the lead to 73-70. Portal had a chance to send the game into overtime but Thomas took a 25-foot jumper with four seconds left and Bryan County secured the rebound as time expired dropping the Panthers to 12-6 overall and 9-3 in region play.

“You have to hand it to Bryan County as I feel they outhustled us and came away with a three-point win,” said coach Jeff Brannen. “They got every 50-50 ball and just outworked us tonight. Hopefully you learn from this and don’t let this happen again.”

Bryan County fell behind early 8-0 but stormed back finding plenty of success in the paint. The Panthers were carried by guard Elijah Coleman who had 19 of his game-high 29 points in the first half. Amir Jackson had 14 of his 18 points in the second half, but the story of the game was Portal allowing Bryan County to hit uncontested layups and wide-open three pointers.

“We have tried to work on sealing off the drives but we didn’t do that tonight,” said Brannen. We did a poor job rotating out on the three-point shooters and on offense we have to work inside-out and we didn’t do that tonight either. Bryan County shot the ball well but we sure didn’t help ourselves. We have got to straighten some things out before the region tournament.”

Coleman’s 29 and Jackson’s 18 paced the Panthers while Bryan County was led by Bowers with 24 points and Elijah Mincey with 17. Next up Portal travels to Claxton Friday night.

The Portal girls fell to Bryan County 65-23 Tuesday. The Panthers drop to 3-14 overall and 2-10 in region play. Shaneisha Coleman led portal with eight points.

The Bulloch Academy Lady Gators continue to tear through their region. The latest victim was Frederica as Bulloch Academy won 86-20 improving to 20-2 overall and 7-0 in region play.

“I felt like we did what we needed to do and played really well in spurts,” said coach Chandler Dennard. “We played pretty solid but did a little too much gambling on defense. I didn’t feel like we shot the ball particularly well, which is hard to say when you score 86 but there are still some things we need to work on before the postseason.”

The Gators blew open a reasonably tight game with a 20-2 run which started late in the first quarter and saw them take a 43-11 halftime lead. Dennard removed his starter at the end of the third quarter but his subs still managed to outscore Frederica 15-7.

“Our second group has gotten some valuable playing time this year,” said Dennard. “You can tell they have really improved as over the past few games they have ended up winning the fourth quarter.”

The Gator boys lost to Frederica 82-41 as they drop to 0-17 overall and 0-7 in region play. Brennan Perosa led the Gators with 12 points.

The Statesboro Blue Devils swept Glynn Academy on the road Tuesday night in Brunswick with the girls winning 61-52 and the boys taking a 65-55 decision. The Lady Devils improve to 20-3 overall and 9-2 in region play and were led by Terrika Gibson with 17 points. The boys are now 20-3 and 9-2 as well and were led by Albert Mikell with 20 points. Statesboro ends the regular season Tuesday at home against Brunswick.

The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets were able to knock off Liberty County Tuesday night 50-43 behind 15 points from Khristian Clark and 12 from Kayden Taylor. The Jackets then dropped a 69-49 decision Wednesday night at Windsor Forest. Clark led the Jackets once again with 20 points as Southeast Bulloch falls to 9-11 overall and 2-7 in region play. Southeast Bulloch will be at Savannah High Friday night.