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Devils, Gators continue to roll
SHS Basketball
Statesboro High's Albert Mikell celebrates as the Blue Devils surge into the lead in the last moments against Glynn Academy on Tuesday, Feb. 15. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The postseason has begun for our area basketball teams and Tuesday night the Bulloch Academy girls and Statesboro boys both advanced with victories. The Blue Devils battled back from a 14-point second half deficit to knock off Glynn Academy 57-51 in the region semifinals, while the Lady Gators ran past Bethlehem Christian 60-15 in the opening round of the GIDSA state tournament. 

The Blue Devils found themselves trailing Glynn Academy 44-30 in the second half but then turned up the defensive pressure and went on to outscore the Red Terrors 27-7 the rest of the game and advanced to the region championship game Thursday. 

“Glynn Academy executed their game plan to the tee,” said Statesboro coach Keith LeGree. “We just hung in there and finally started executing our game plan like we had worked on the past three days. I wasn’t happy with the way we played for most of that game and if we play like that again Thursday, we will get beat. But they found a way to fight back and I am proud of that.” 

The run was keyed by the play of the Statesboro seniors who wanted to assure themselves of at least one more game at home. Kam Mikell scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half, Leslie Black added eight of his 14 points and Albert Mikell chipped in with 12 points and a few big baskets in the decisive second half run. 

“Those seniors just didn’t want to lay down tonight,” said LeGree. “They fought and battled back. We tried to make some adjustments at halftime but things weren’t going our way. We finally hit a streak and it was led by those seniors. I am so proud of how they kept coming back.” 

The Blue Devils opened up an early lead to start the game but Glynn Academy was red hot from the field and would build a 13-point lead as they went on a 11-2 run in the second quarter. Statesboro came back late in the second quarter with a couple of driving layups by Albert Mikell to cut the lead to 32-26. 

Kam Mikell led Statesboro with 16 points while Black had 14 and Albert Mikell had 12. Glynn was led by Tyson Rooks with 16 and Quay Dickens with 14 points. 

Up next for the Blue Devils they will battle Effingham County in the region championship game Thursday at 7:30. The Rebels came from a six-point deficit in the last minute of regulation to force overtime where they beat Bradwell 62-58 

The No. 1 seeded Bulloch Academy Lady Gators had no problems with No. 16 seed Bethlehem Christian as they opened up a 43-3 halftime lead and went on to win 60-15. 

“This is the reason we wanted to be in this position,” said BA coach Chandler Dennard. “We earned the No. 1 seed and this is what you are supposed to do when you host the 16 seed. I thought we came out strong and played pretty well for the mist part. There are some things we need to adjust on defense but overall, I was proud of the effort and we are ready for round two on Friday.” 

Kacie Ricketts led the Gators with a game-high 18 points. Sarah Ellis added 17 while Armani Cooke chipped in with 10 points. Up next for the Gators they will play Dominion Christian Friday at 8:30 at John Milledge Academy. 

“Being the number one seed allows us once again to avoid some of the tougher teams that are left,” said Dennard. “But if you are not playing well when you get to the top eight teams anything can happen. We don’t know much about Dominion Christian as we have no common opponents, but I feel like if we take care of what we need to do we will come out on top.” 

In other action from region tournaments on Wednesday the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets had their season come to a close as they lost to Beach 64-54 in Savannah. Ryon Reed led the Jackets with 14 points while Khristian Clark had 13 and Kayden Taylor added 10. The Lady Jackets season came to a close as well as they lost to Savannah High 43-40. 

The Statesboro Lady Blue Devils won the region consolation game Wednesday night in Brunswick as they knocked off Glynn Academy 45-38. Malaya Dekle and Reya Johnson each had 13 points to lead the Blue Devils. Statesboro earned the No. 3 seed in the state tournament and will be on the road next week at a yet to be determined site.