The Region 2-AAAAA girls championship game at Statesboro High was a fitting grudge match to end a competitive regular season.
Statesboro and Wayne County had split during the regular season with the Blue Devils winning at home 42-20 and losing on the road 40-33. Friday’s decisive game featured the two leading scorers in the region in Statesboro’s Lacy Robins and the Jackets’ Terren Ward. Neither shied away from the moment, with Ward scoring 24 and Robins 21.
Ward won the individual battle, but it was Robins and the Lady Devils that claimed a 52-42 victory and a top seed in the upcoming state playoffs.
The big difference on the scoreboard was that Ward played limited minutes due to foul trouble. Ward picked up her fourth foul with 4:50 left in the third quarter and the Blue Devils leading by a count of 25-23. She exited the game, and the Lady Devils promptly went on a 12-0 run to take a 37-23 lead as they pulled away toward the region crown.
“I felt like that was definitely the turning point of the game,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Seier. “With her out we were able to press them and get them to turn the ball over. She still got her points, but that run gave us some breathing room.”
Statesboro came out flat, missing seven layups in the first half and going 6-for-14 from the free throw line. The Lady Yellow Jackets capitalized on the opportunity, executing a bit better on their offensive end to take a 21-17 lead at the half.
The Blue Devils started to catch fire in the third quarter as Madison Lee hit a pair of baskets. Jamaiah Jones added seven points, including a 3-pointer while Robins had nine points as Statesboro opened up a 39-25 lead at the end of the third.
Statesboro went on to outscore Wayne County 35-22 in the second half. Ward tried her best to keep the Jackets in the game despite playing limited minutes, but her 11 fourth quarter points weren’t enough as the Jackets ended up as the second seed in the state playoffs for the second straight year.
The Blue Devils may have won the game, but what they get for the victory is a visit from one of the top 10 teams in the state. Statesboro will host 22-5 Jones County, which stunningly lost both of its region playoff games to end up as the No. 4 seed out of Region 4-AAAAA.
“We lost to them by one at their place,” Seier said. “The good thing is we play them here, and I like the way we play at home.”
The Statesboro boys and girls will host the opening round of the state at a yet to be determined time and date.