Statesboro Lady Blue Devil coach Jeff Seier knew Jones County wasn’t a typical fourth seed coming into the opening round of the state playoffs. The Greyhounds were 25-3 and ranked sixth in the state before losing two consecutive games in their region tournament, resulting in a tumble to a No. 4 seed in the state tournament bracket. On Friday night the Greyhounds showed why they had been so highly ranked for most of the season, holding Statesboro to only two points in the fourth quarter and winning 37-34.
The Devils led throughout the contest until Jones County took a 34-32 lead on a Madison Bennett layup with less than five minutes to play. Lacy Robins quickly tied the game, but a Statesboro turnover on its next position led to another Jones County layup and a 36-34 lead. The Blue Devils turned the ball over three times down the stretch and did not score another point over the final 2:42 of play.
“Turnover really hurt us out there tonight,” said Seier. “We had them on the ropes, and I think we let them off. It seemed like we got tired out there, maybe I should have gone to the bench earlier. We didn’t play very well down the stretch and didn’t take care of the basketball, and that will get you beat.”
The Blue Devils had a couple chances to tie the game, or take the lead, but turned the ball over on their final two possessions to conclude what had been a troubling trend throughout the night. Statesboro had 22 turnovers in the game, including 14 in the second half. And the Devils’ inability to hold onto the ball was the main culprit in the team’s paltry two-point output in the final quarter.
“The kids played hard, you can’t complain about that,” Seier said. “Jones County is a good team, but there were a lot of times when we were dribbling the ball, and then fell to the ground. The refs seemed to let them play a little more rough than we are used to.”
The loss ends the illustrious career of Statesboro senior Lacy Robins. Robins finished her career with over 2,000 points, and had 10 points Friday. Jamiah Jones led Statesboro with 14 points.
“I know Lacy has to be disappointed we didn’t make a run in her final year,” Seier said. “You can’t take those region championships away though. We didn’t make a state playoff run, we had a great year, and we were region champs.”