MACON - Too much speed, too much size and too much talent - the Griffin Bears (17-10) jumped out early on Statesboro and never looked back, advancing to the Elite 8 of the GHSA Class AAAA tournament Thursday night at Mercer University with a 71-50. Griffin will face North Clayton Saturday at 5:30 p.m. for a chance at the Final Four.
The Bears came into the second half with a 14 point lead, and the Blue Devils would only get as close as 10 in the fourth quarter.
"They were the better team," said SHS head coach Lee Hill. "They had a lot more depth than we did; they ran in and out on us and were just too big on us inside. I thought the third quarter we had a chance, but we missed some free throws and missed some easy shots and we never could cut it to six or seven."
The power forward play of Charles Corbin and the smooth shooting of guard Sidney Harris posed too many match-up problems for the Devils. Corbin finished with 20 points and was 8-for-8 from the line while Harris scored 14 and buried three 3s.The Bears turned the ball over just 11 times in the game.
The Devils went almost eight minutes at one point without a field goal, and even though the Bears weren't extending their lead, they were more than happy to run time off the clock and keep SHS at bay.
Nakeavis Hunter finished with a team-high 11 points for the Blue Devils (18-12) while Justin Houston added nine.
Once the Bears got going in the first half, they were hard to stop.
Statesboro jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but GHS answered with a 12-2 run of its own after missing its first four shots and turning the ball over twice.
The Devils tried to slow things down, but 15 first half turnovers didn't help their cause, and Griffin ended the quarter with an inbound alley-oop to Corbin.
The Bears would extend their lead to 14 going into the locker room when Cj Curry hit a three at the buzzer. Statesboro scored just two points over the final four minutes of the second quarter, and Houston and Patrick Parker both picked up their third fouls during that span.