Southeast Bulloch has shown flashes of greatness throughout the season, but has the unenviable position of playing in arguably the toughest region in Class AAA.
The Yellow Jackets have come up just short against a number of state powers in region play already this season and needed a shot of confidence. They got just that over the weekend, defeating Claxton — No. 6 in the Class A power poll — on the road with an impressive shooting performance.
SEB’s Malik Puckett wasn’t the leading scorer for the Jackets in the upset win, but he hit two of the biggest buckets of the game. Southeast Bulloch began the game white-hot from long range and quickly built a sizeable lead.
Claxton bounced back and stayed close throughout the second half, but Puckett twice answered big Claxton buckets with a 3 on the other end of the floor to keep the momentum in the Jackets’ corner.
“We had to keep the pedal to the metal,” Puckett said. “We knew that Claxton was going to fight and that we had to do the same thing. I think we were feeding off of each other with our shooting. The ball just came to me late in the game and I took the shots.”
Despite the fact that Claxton’s run to the Class A Final Four last season was the best showing in program history, it’s looking more and more like a warm-up act for the 2014-15 campaign.
The Lady Tigers currently sit at No. 2 in the state power rankings, thanks in large part to another stellar season being turned in by Ikeria Brown. Claxton’s top forward is still just a junior, but hit a huge milestone last weekend, scoring her 1,000th career point in a rout of Southeast Bulloch.
Hitting the mark wasn’t a guarantee as Brown began the night 22 points shy, but a 28-point outburst notched her place in Claxton history while leading the way to another victory for the 16-3 Tigers.
“I’m so happy for (Brown),” Claxton coach Laura Aziz said. “She’s a hard worker and a big reason for all the success we’ve been having. I know she’s been anxious about it, so it was great to see her get to 1,000 on a night when she had a great game.”
Brown isn’t the first Claxton player to reach the milestone, but she now joins teammate Jazmine Price — who got to the same mark last season — to become half of the first 1,000-point duo in school history.