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Buchannon, Bennett to play in GACA All-Star game
Statesboro’s Monnette Bennett, center, will play in the 2008 GACA All-Star game Sunday at Savannah State University at 2 p.m. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file
    Bulloch County sure is going to miss them, but there’s one last chance to see them play.
    McDonald’s All American Honorable Mention Monnette Bennett (Statesboro) and Region 3-A Player of the Year David Buchannon (Portal) will participate in the 2008 GACA Basketball Senior All-Star Games in Savannah Sunday.
    The games will be played at Savannah State University, and will showcase players from all GHSA Classifications. The girls tip off at 2 p.m. and the boys will immediately follow.
    Buchannon, who was named to the GSWA All-State on Saturday, joins 20 other players from the state who will be split into two teams that will be coached by Bolling DuBose (Jefferson) and Tim Jordan (Savannah).
    Making the South roster of the All-Star game is the icing on the cake for Buchannon, who was the only Class-A player invited to the showcase.
    “We’re just here soaking in everything,” said Portal coach Jeff Brannen, who led Buchannon and the Panthers to the Final Four of the state playoffs where they lost to eventual state-champion Hancock Central in an overtime thriller. “We’re enjoying this week. We’re going to have some fun and play some basketball.”
    Buchannon finished the season with 658 points (21.2 ppg) and shot 38.1 percent from behind the arc. He also led the team in free-throw percentage (78.8) and assists (7.1 apg). He shot 58.3 percent from the field.
    The senior guard is joined by several other area players, most notably Swainsboro’s Tony Mitchell.
    “The top players in the state of Georgia are here, and it gives (Buchannon) a chance to showcase his talents against the (best),” Brannen said.
    Buchannon’s invite marks the first time Brannen has sent a Portal player to Savannah for the game.
    For Bennett, who was also named to the GSWA All-State team as an honorable mention, it’s all about proving to the girls from the northern part of the state that the girls from the south can ball just as well.
    “I’m pretty excited about it,” she said from her cell phone Saturday after getting out of her team’s third practice. “We’re starting to gel (as a team) so it’s been fun so far. We pretty much know each other, or at least have seen each other play before. We all kind of feel like we get mistreated being in the south, so we’re happy about the chance to play — to show them that they ain’t the only ones with talent.”
    Bennett, who will play for Georgia Tech in the fall, averaged 19.4 points a game in leading the Lady Blue Devils to a Region 3-AAAA championship. Bennett also pulled down 97. boards a game, registered 4.8 steals and dished out 2.4 assists.
    She said she’s looking forward to showing off some of her talents to a new audience and showing her peers from up north how it’s done south of Macon.
    “That’s all we’ve been talking about,” she laughed. “Go southside!”