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Area hoops teams still dancing around COVID down stretch
SHS Basketball
Statesboro High's Joe Kilculp, right, plays keepaway from Southeast Bulloch's Jontavious Scott on the way to a score in the lane during the first quarter on Saturday, Jan. 23. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Area basketball teams continue to have their schedules altered due to COVID related issues, but many were able to get games in on Saturday.

The Statesboro boys hosted Southeast Bulloch Saturday night and came out with an impressive 84-41 victory at Lee Hill Arena. The Southeast Bulloch girls remain in COVID quarantine and did not play Statesboro.

The two teams have played pretty competitive contests over the past few years, but the Jackets looked like a team who had played only one game over the past 40 days while the Blue Devils looked like the Top 10 team they currently are.

Statesboro jumped out to an 18-11 lead, and then slowly started to pull away. The Blue Devils led 37-22 at the half, and then ran away in the second half thanks to a 20-3 run to open the third quarter. The Blue Devils depth and speed advantage was too much for the Jackets who struggled in most aspects of the game Saturday.

“There are no excuses, we have to play harder than that,” said Southeast Bulloch Coach Matt Kuykendall. “I feel like we let the atmosphere get to us a little, and we need to buy in and play together as a team. Credit to Statesboro as they are a very good team and Coach LeGree has them playing hard.”

“Our team has been ready for this game tonight,” said LeGree. “They practiced hard all week and were forced from the beginning of the game. Our guys are bought in, and are playing hard for one another, and that is all you can ask for. I feel like we continue to get better, even when we have struggles on offense, we continue to play tough hard defense and that is a key to this team.”

The Blue Devils are now 12-2 overall and 6-1 in region play. They were led in scoring by Joe Kilcup with 14 points. Seven other Blue Devil players had at least seven points. Up next Statesboro travels to South Effingham Tuesday at 6:00.

Southeast Bulloch was able to rebound from the Statesboro loss, and knocked off Savannah High in a region matchup Monday on the road 65-46. The Jackets were led in scoring Monday by Khristian Clark with 18 points. Tyler Griffin added 12 points and A.J. Williams had 10 for the Jackets who improve to 5-4 overall and 2-1 in region play. Up next Southeast Bulloch will host Liberty County Wednesday for a doubleheader with the girl’s starting at 6:00.

The Bulloch Academy Gators spilt a pair of games Saturday in a non-region game against GHSA member Savannah Christian. The girls won 62-35, while the boys lost 64-55. The girls were led in scoring by Sophie Strickland and Armani Cooke who each had 15 points. The Lady Gators are now 9-6 overall and 4-0 in region play. 

The Gators boys fall to 7-8 overall and are 2-2 in region play. The Gators were led Saturday night by Ryan Swanson with a game-high 30 points. Bryce Clifton was the only other player in double figures as he scored 12 points. Up next the Gators travel to St. Andrews Friday for a girls only game at 6:00 as COVID issues at St. Andrews has cancelled the boys game.

The Portal Panthers boys beat MCA Friday and are now 11-6 overall and 7-1 in region play, while the girls are 4-11 overall and 2-7 in region play. Portal will host Montgomery County Tuesday for a boys only game at 6:00. The Montgomery County girls will not be playing due to COVID issues. The Panthers will recognize all seniors prior to the game at 5:45.