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Area teams in midseason stretch
Prep Basketball
Portal's Glen Lowe celebrates a chance at a 3-point play in the third quarter against Metter on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The Lady Panthers dug in deep to pull out an impressive 37-35 victory over the Lady Tigers to notch their third win of the season.

Bulloch County high school teams are currently in the heart of their region schedules, and a few teams are continuing to impress including the Statesboro Blue Devils who are both ranked statewide.

The Lady Devils are currently No.6 in Class 6-A with a perfect 13-0 record and are also 7-0 in region play. Statesboro knocked off Effingham County 72-13 Tuesday in Springfield. The Blue Devils opened up an 18-1 lead in the first quarter, and never looked back. Statesboro was led by Kacie Ricketts with 10 points. The Blue Devils had seven players score at least seven points in the game.

The Statesboro boys are currently ranked No. 10 in Class 6-A with an overall record of 11-2 and are 6-1 in region play. The Blue Devils knocked off Effingham 74-47 Tuesday behind a game high 16 points from Willie Ballard. Albert Mikell added 13 points, while Leslie Black had 10 points for the Blue Devils.

Up next for Statesboro they will host Bradwell Friday night with the girls getting things underway at 6:00. The Statesboro seniors will be recognized between the games, and at halftime of the boy’s game there will be a renaming ceremony as the Statesboro gym will be renamed Lee Hill Arena.

The Portal Panthers split a pair of games at home Tuesday against Metter. The girls won 37-35 to improve to 3-10 overall and 2-6 in region play. The Portal boys lost to Metter 57-54 to fall to 10-6 overall and 6-1 in region play.

The Panther girls led throughout and had to hold off a Metter charge in the final minutes in order to escape with the two-point victory. A balanced Lady Panther attack was led by Glendia Lowe who had scored nine points on three three-pointers and was a welcome return to the lineup.

“We finally got a few key players got who made some improvements in the classroom,” said Coach Huey Williams. “Freshman Glendia Lowe hit some huge shots for us tonight. We did a lot better job on defense, and while we really aren't used to closing out games, we did a pretty good job tonight and will hopefully learn from this experience.”

The Panther boys had a fairly easy time with the Tigers on the road, but saw Metter open up an 18-point lead before finally clawing their way back into the game. Portal actually cut the lead to 53-52 but weren’t able to close things out.

“I love this team, they battle, and we never quit,” said Portal Coach Jeff Brannen. “They got physical with our young guards, and we got in foul trouble. I was proud of the way we fought back and didn’t quit. We have been waiting for Fred Spells to step up and I thought he showed some grit tonight and played hard. ”

One bright spot in the loss was the play of the senior Spells. He came through with 16 points and nine blocked shots in the game. Up next Portal will host McIntosh County Academy Friday with the girls getting things underway at 6:00.

The Bulloch Academy Gators swept a pair of games Tuesday night on the road in Bellville as they knocked off Pinewood with the girls winning 40-23, and the boys knocking off the Patriots 49-38.

Sophie Wall led the Lady Gators with nine points. Bulloch Academy improves to 7-6 overall and 3-0 in region play. Up next the Gators host Trinity Friday at 6:00.

The Gators boys have now won two in a row as they knocked off Pinewood 49-38. The boys were led by Ryan Swanson with a game high 22 points.

The bad news continues for the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets. The Lady Jackets remain on COVID quarantine, while the boys game Tuesday against Johnson was postponed as the John Sanders the Savannah Chatham County School Systems athletic director felt it was unsafe for Savannah schools to play in Brooklet. Friday’s game at home with Windsor Forest is also currently on hold.

According to Southeast Bulloch Coach Matt Kuykendall Region 3-AAA athletic directors and principals are scheduled to meet Thursday morning to determine how to handle the rest of the basketball season. The GHSA has told SEB athletic director Barrett Davis that if teams are cleared to play, they must play or forfeit if both teams don’t agree to move the game.

The Jackets are scheduled to play a boys only game Saturday at 6:00 at Statesboro High. 

Keep updated on this and other stories at or follow Josh Aubrey on Twitter @thejoshaubrey