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Jackets set to tip off season
SEB preps for another tough run through Region 1-AAA
seb hoops web
Southeast Bullochs Caleb Carter, top, is undercut by Claxtons Cornelius Taylor while going for a rebound during a Jan. 17 game in Claxton last season. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    It’s a new year and a new season for Southeast Bulloch baseketball. Both teams worked hard in the offseason and now it’s time to see just where they stack up.
    The Yellow Jackets will face off against Bryan County at home today with the girls team scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
    For the boys, this season is about coming together as a unit. The Yellow Jackets will be without several guards this year, including former SEB standout Sheldon Hendrix. Hendrix currently plays for Waycross Community College.
    With some notable Yellow Jackets’ guards gone, the weight of the offense will fall on the shoulders of big man Joseph Anderson. Returning starter Markel Ming is also a player Southeast Bulloch head coach John Page is looking at for leadership of this year’s squad.
    “Those guys are really the nucleus of what we have,” Page said. “We’ve got to play a little bit different than we did last year. Last year we were on the perimeter and this year we are more skilled inside. That’s got to be our focus.”
    Page said the transition for his team to work the ball in the low post on offense has been a “work in progress.”
    “Our guards have confidence that they can score at any time, but we have to buy into (the offense) as a team. They have to know if we get the other guys on the inside involved we’ll be better as a team. We’re hoping that they buy into it quickly, but one way or another they’re going to buy into it,” Page said, with a slight grin on his face.
    The Yellow Jackets fell just short of advancing to the state playoffs last season, losing to Tattnall County in the Class AAA region 1B playoffs, 52-43.
    Defensively, Page said he wants his team coming out in a half-court, man-to-man defense. Playing man-to-man should give physical big men such as Anderson and Caleb Carter to grab boards and push the ball in transition.
    For the girls team, it won’t be that easy.
    This season the Lady Yellow Jackets will have a few holes to fill, but are eager to get started on the year.
    Head coach Kristen Barnhill said her team was a little inexperienced, but have great team chemistry and play well together.
    The Lady Yellow Jackets lost three players from last year’s unit, including two post players and a guard.
    “The experience on the team is a little lacking this year, but we have a great group of freshman and juniors eager to play,” Barnhill said. “We have to get our guards playing well and playing in control.”
    Turnovers will be a key facet for the girls squad this season. Barnhill said she doesn’t want to see her young guards getting frustrated and turning the ball over, which could result in fast breaks on the other end.
    SEB won just four games last season, but Barnhill takes a positive approach to the season saying, “It won’t be hard to do better than that.”
    “Our main focus this year is taking care of the ball. Our guards are going to be under a lot of pressure and scrutiny this year, but I think they can handle it,” Barnhill said. “We’re just trying to do better than we did last year.
    “The girls work well together, and that’s odd for a group of 16-year-old girls. If we can handle the ball well and get it inside to our bigs, we can turn heads this year.”
    As the defense is concerned, the Lady Yellow Jackets will need plenty of team chemistry and communication as Barnhill plans to run a zone for the majority of the season.
    Barnhill said the zone will be an easier defense to learn for her younger players.

    Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.