As the cliche goes, all good things must come to an end.
The 2016-17 basketball campaign certainly was a good one for the Lady Blue Devils. After playing a consistently good season where they never lost back-to-back games, it seemed like the season was destined to end just "good" when Statesboro was slated the three seed in their region tournament.
The 48-39 win against Wayne County wasn't a huge surprise, but the 33-27 win over Ware County proved to be the real shocker. The Lady Blue Devils had secured a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs and capitalized on it by running Locust Grove off Lee Hill Court Saturday night 65-40.
But Statesboro's best season under head coach Jeff Seier since 2011 eventually had to end, and unfortunately for the ladies it ended with a 59-36 loss in the second round of the state playoffs.
From the get go, it was clear Flowery Branch was no ordinary No. 2 seed. Statesboro was utterly lost in the Falcon's full court press early on, turning the ball over on five of their first eight possessions.
"It's not like we've never seen that kind of press before," Seier said. "We just didn't handle it very well. We had the state tournament jitters for sure."
This put Statesboro in an early 11-2 hole, but Lacy Robins started to open up the offense when she scored the last five points of the quarter - including a three to end it and make the score 14-7.
Robins' offense solely kept Statesboro in the first half, as she'd go on to shoot 3-of-4 with ten points while the rest of the team shot 1-of-9. While Robins - not even old enough to drive herself to Tuesday night's game - was keeping her team afloat, Taniyah Worth for the Falcons was dueling her to equal abade.
"If we didn't have Lacy tonight it would have been very ugly," Seier said. "She's a Saturday player for sure."
Worth would score six of her 14 total points in the second quarter while also being a driving force on defense. Julianne Sutton added with four points and four rebounds - commanding the paint where Keisonna Rolins and Victoria Harris normally have control.
"We sure would like to play them again, they made us play better basketball tonight," Seier said. "But in the end they were the better team."
Free throws would haunt Statesboro all night, as the Blue Devils would shoot 6-of-22 from the charity stripe. Half of those shots would come from Robins, who'd finish with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while adding ten rebounds, four blocks and two assists.
The 59-36 loss stands as the worst Statesboro had suffered all season, although it may have come to the best team they've seen all season. Flowery Branch is a consensus top-ten team by multiple Georgia HS outlets, and will make a formidable opponent in the Elite Eight.
"It was a great season for us either way," Seier said. "We had come into tonight having accomplished all of our goals, so anything after that would have just been extra."
Statesboro finishes 19-9 and the region 2-5A champions - the program's first region title since 2011 and their eighth overall.