In the moment of a loss, it's hard to step back and see what all Statesboro boys' basketball has accomplished this season.
A 48-35 loss to Cedar Shoals was undoubtedly the worst suffered by the Blue Devils this season, even during the beginning of the year when Statesboro was down five players to injury. But once you zoom out, knowing what Statesboro accomplished, this season might help nurture the wound a little.
Back in December, head coach Lee Hill won his 800th game, putting him on a pedestal not many other coaches have sat on in the history of Georgia high school basketball. In the same month, Statesboro swept through the Gentlemen's Classic before going 7-1 in region play and winning its 15th region title under Hill.
"I'm proud of them for winning a region title even after how we started," Hill said. "Cam Harvey and Tray Burns were really the only guys who came back this year with any experience."
But in the moment, the sting of the loss was still radiating after Statesboro was held to a season-low 35 points.Cedar Shoals' length and ability to match up man-to-man gave Statesboro trouble all night long.
Even after the Jags had switched into zone, Statesboro - normally a reliable 3-point shooting team - only shot 22 percent from distance. Daniel Cooper was the only player to hit multiple 3's, both of which came in the first quarter.
"We were surprised to see them go to zone because we hadn't seen them do that all season," Hill said. "But I guess that's because we couldn't make any shots."
So it came as no surprise when that initial spurt was when the game was at its closest. While Statesboro never led in the game, a Cooper three did cut the margin to 10-9 before Charleston Southern commit Phlandrous Fleming answered to make it 13-9 after eight minutes of play.
However the second quarter would ultimately do in the Blue Devils, as Statesboro shot just 2-of-12 from the field and be outscored 15-6 in the quarter. 11 first half turnovers wouldn't help the Blue Devils either, and neither did the nine points Cedar Shoals would convert off of them.
Fleming would crush Statesboro on the boards as well, creating second chance after second chance for the Jags. Fleming would finish 19 rebounds - including seven on the offensive glass - and top it off with 22 points with three blocks. Statesboro had eight offensive boards as a team by comparison.
"We knew they'd be a good rebounding team, and I knew it'd be key for us to win tonight," Hill said. "Number 24 just killed us on those boards tonight."
Statesboro held Cedar Shoals to a season low 48 points, but the offense just couldn't catch up. Cam Harvey led Statesboro in scoring with just eight points, much lower than his normal total.
Statesboro finishes the season 19-10 and the 2-5A region champions, and will have a lot to replace this season with five seniors walking out the door.