It may as well have been Lacy Robins night.
The lone senior for Jeff Seier’s Statesboro squad did everything she needed to earn a standing ovation on senior night as the No. 9 Lady Blue Devils defeated South Effingham 84-24 Friday.
“I just wanted to enjoy the night with my teammates,” Robins said. “It’s not my last home game, but I kinda treated it like my last home game.”
Robins scored the first points of the night less than a minute into the game, in a forgettable first quarter for both teams. SHS only mustered 13 points, two coming off a technical foul on SEHS head coach Jenifer Hall l with 5:25 left in the first frame.
The second quarter is when Robins and the rest of Statesboro put the visitors away.
As she’s done throughout her four-year career, Robins ran the offense unselfishly, always looking for the extra pass. But she didn’t always look for it as her no-look passing exhausted the Lady Mustangs all night.
On senior night, she finished with nine assists and each one of them came more effortlessly than the last. The teamwork Robins uses has helped her continue to add to her Statesboro legacy.
“I could be trying to score 30, but it’s just natural for me to pass the ball,” Robins said. “I’m not a selfish player.”
Up 40-13 at halftime, there was no worry of a loss to end the regular season. Instead, the focus was to work on Robins’ stat line and keep the team healthy ahead of next week’s region tournament.
Twenty seconds into the second half, SEHS picked up two technical fouls, ejecting Coach Hall and giving SHS four points from the free throw line.
Robins was pulled with 1:47 left in the game and humbly walked down the bench, high fiving her teammates and coaches after a 26 point performance.
“I wasn’t hitting in the first or second quarter, but I stayed in the game,” she said. “I had to keep my head in the game. They all look up to me, so if I’m down, they’re down. If I’m up, they’re up.”
After the game went final, the senior night festivities commenced. As the public address announcer read all of Robins’ accomplishments, the crowd again rose to its feet and gave its praise to the team leader.
Seier and the coaching staff headed to midfield and presented Robins with a framed jersey, the ball from the game where she hit 1,000 career points and a trophy that read “2,000 career points.”
The Lady Devils will have five days off before playing in the region tournament at home Wednesday.
The senior party carried over to the boys game as three more SHS upperclassmen kept the good times going.
Zarion Griffin, Jo Burns and Jacobi Edenfield played the first three and a half quarters with a flow and aggression that suffocated South Effingham on the way to a 94-31 rout.
Griffin scored first via the first of several dunks that sent the crowd to its feet.
Burns was electric from beyond the arc, finishing with a team-high six 3’s.
Edenfield played the role of facilitator, setting up Burns and Griffin and locking down the Mustang defense.
The win was the Blue Devils’ 20th of the season, and Burns and Griffin agreed that there would be more to come.
“We can be really good if we come together as a team,” Griffin said. “We’ve already come together, but coming together more we can take state.”
Before the game even tipped off, Statesboro had secured a regular season region championship - the program’s 22nd in its history. They have now won 18 straight and end with a perfect 8-0 region record.
Head coach Lee Hill had a slight fear that the momentum would affect his team’s motives.
“I was concerned because I knew if a team you’ve beaten before and you take them lightly, they can come into the game,” Hill said. “I was proud our kids didn't let that go to the head.”
At the end of the first quarter, the home team had a 29-7 lead thanks to a 13-1 start to the game. The Blue Devils never looked back.
Griffin finished with 27 points and Edenfield had six, but the game was more about having fun and giving opportunity to non-starters.
That finally came to fruition in the fourth quarter. The five starters, including all three seniors, were pulled with 3:35 left in the game and Statesboro leading 79-24.
Statesboro will host an opponent yet to be determined on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the semifinals of its region tournament.