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Blue Devil basketball sweeps Effingham County
SHS Basketball
Statesboro's Zarion Griffin lays in two of his 10 first half points against Effingham County Friday night. Griffin and the Devils ground out a tough win to split the season series. - photo by JOSH AUBREY

The Statesboro Blue Devils were able to sweep the visiting Effingham County Rebels Friday night at Statesboro High. The Girls had no problem with the Rebels as they won 70-12, while the boys were able to avenge an earlier loss to Effingham, winning Friday's nightcap by a count of 57-48.

The Blue Devils led by a single point at halftime of the boys' game, but turned things up defensively in the second half and started to pull away. 

Statesboro utilized a  man-to-man defense for most of the first half, but switched things up into a two-three matchup zone in the second half, which Coach Lee Hill credits for the victory.

“I thought we played pretty good in the first half, but defensively we needed a little something,” Hill said. “I had us switch from man to zone, and that seemed to help us defensively in getting them to turn things over.”

In the first matchup, Blue Devil leading scorer Zarion Griffin and fellow senior Joe Burns were both injured. This time around a healthy Griffin posted a game-high 22 while junior forward O.J. Reese chipped in with 17 points. 

The added scoring threats made a huge difference as the Rebels struggled to slow down the Devils.

“Zarion did a good job of taking what they gave him,” Hill said. “When they played off him he was able to hit the three pointers, and when they got on him, he was able to take them to the basket and finish.”

“I really liked what O.J. did out there tonight,” Hill said. “He forced a couple shots, but then he really did a good job of waiting for the ball and finishing with layups inside.”

After losing five in a row, the Blue Devils have now won two straight and are 3-5 on the season. Griffin led the way with 22, while Reese added 17. Effingham was led by Khiry Wallace had 17 for Effingham. 

Up next for the boys is their anual trip to the U-Save-It invitational in Albany where they'll take on Glynn Academy Dec. 19.

The Statesboro girls showed what they are capable of when focused as they raced out to a 37-7 halftime lead, and went on to knock off Effingham County 70-12. The Blue Devils got 15 first half points from Lacy Robins, and Alexis Ward who also combined for five three pointers.

“It seemed like Ward had a lot more points than that in the first half,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Seier. “Lacy was her usual self but it’s nice to have someone like Ward step up like she did tonight.”

Robins did not score in the second half, but added to her assist total with some nice passing, as well as coming up with steals and rebounds. The Blue Devils have done a good job of having complementary scorers to Robins consistent play.

“Some nights it's Jamiah Jones, some nights it’s Bailee Roberts or Madison Lee,” Seier said. “Tonight it was Ward. Our players do a good job of figuring out who has the hot hand, and get them the ball.”

The Blue Devils also played solid defensively with Robins coming up with seven steals, resulting in some easy transition baskets throughout the game. The Blue Devils also dominated the boards, with Bailee Robert helping to lead the way.

“I felt like Bailee had a solid game, particularly rebounding,” Seier said. “I felt like we came out a little flat overall, but we really got rolling there in the second quarter.”

Ward and Robins each finished with 15 points. Effingham County was led by Jasmine Kennedy with eight points. 

With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 8-2 on the season. Next up for the Lady Devils is a matchup against Baldwin at the Morris Bank Holiday Classic Dec. 27 with tipoff scheduled for 4 p.m.