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Portal boys, girls move on to second round of state playoffs
Boys rout Charlton County, 85-41; girls knock off Turner County, 51-40
Amir Jackson
Portal's Amir Jackson, right, shakes off Charlton County defender Leon Cribb. Jr. on a second quarter drive on Wednesday, Feb. 21. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The Portal Panthers swept through the first round of the state playoffs as the boys knocked off Charlton County 85-41 and the girls knocked off Turner County 51-40.

For the Portal boys to win a first round game is nothing new, but for the girls it was the first state playoff win in school history.

“It’s a great feeling and something we don’t want to end,” said Portal first year coach Nicole Newton. “As long as we continue to play hard and play together, we think we can continue to make history.”

A low-scoring first half saw the Panthers jump out to a 7-3 lead. Things started clicking a little better for the Panthers in the second quarter as freshman London Blackman scored six of her 15 points and Portal opened up a 21-11 lead at the half. Turner County stormed back to outscore Portal 19-9 in the third quarter, but the Panthers managed to right the ship and hit some key free throws down the stretch to come away with the win.

“It was a great game and a great playoff atmosphere,” Newton said. “The fans came out and helped support the girls and the really appreciated it. We let them back in it but came back in the fourth and really shot the ball well from the free throw line for a change.”

Portal was led by Blackman with 15 points, while Alyssa King added 12 points and Glen Lowe had 10 points. Up next Portal hits the road for Wilcox County Friday.

The Statesboro boys continued to blow their opponents out of the gym Wednesday with an 85-41 win over Charlton County in the opening round of the Class-A Div. ll state playoffs.

Portal came into the game having beaten their last 10 opponents by an average of 79-41. Wednesday was nothing different as they opened up a 19-13 first quarter lead and then held Charlton County to just seven points in the second quarter as they pulled out to a 49-20 halftime lead. Senior guard Elijah Coleman outscored the opposition 16-7 himself in the second quarter and finished the game with 25 points.

“We turned the defense up and started pressing in the second quarter and that really got us going,” said Portal coach Jeff Brannen. “We still have some room for improvement like being in the right spot and not having defensive breakdowns.”

Joseph Thomas led the way with 27 points including 22 points in the first half. Coleman added 25 points and 14 steals, while Marion tremble had 14.

Next up for Portal they will host Early County who was 19-10 and 11-7 in the regular season Early County beat Wilcox County in the opening round 57-46.