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Big second half propels Portal

    PORTAL — Bryan County forced Portal into a touch-and-go first half and a two-point contest after two quarters, but the Panthers turned over the Redskins 16 times in the second half and outscored them 15-4 in the third quarter to cruise to a 71-48 win Saturday night.
    Corey Reese led the Panthers in the post, pulling down 11 rebounds and scoring a team-high 20 points for the double-double, but he wasn’t the only one putting it through the rim. Four different PHS players reached double digits.
    “This year we usually have three or four in double digits on any given day,” said Portal coach Jeff Brannen. “One guy might not be the main scorer. As a coach, we emphasize team basketball, and I think if you’ve got a lot of people scoring, you’re better off.”
    Guard Corey Walker scored 16 points including a pair of 3-pointers, Isiah Rich finished with 13 and Jamie Hagins added a pair of 3s on his way to 10 points.
    With Portal (11-6) coming off Friday’s 71-22 win at Southeast Bulloch, the Redskins were the ones bringing the intensity in the early minutes.
    They popped open the game on an 8-0 run before Portal got its first bucket of the night, a layup by Rich at the 5:09 mark to cut it to 8-2. The Panthers trailed 19-12 after a quarter of play.
    Much like Bryan in the first quarter, PHS dominated the opening minutes of the second, sparking a 10-4 run ending with a Walker 3-pointer that made it 23-22.
    Portal took its first lead of the game with 3:14 remaining in the second on a layup by Walker to pull ahead 26-25. The lead changed hands three times before another Walker layup put the Panthers ahead for good.
    Portal led 29-27 at the break.
    “We came out a little flat,” said Brannen. “We had a letdown there at the beginning of the game, but we dug down deep. We told them at halftime just to play basketball, and we came out and played a little smarter in the second half.”
    Bryan County committed nine turnovers in the third quarter alone and made only one shot from the floor as the Portal ran ahead to a 44-31 lead after three, ending the period on an 8-0 run.
    For the Redskins, it was all about Albert Chavis. He led all scorers with 25 points including two 3s, and grabbed eight rebounds. Kendall Dixon added nine and Mychael Smith scored eight.
    Akaya Johnson was the game’s leading rebounder with 12, but Portal won that battle too, winning the battle on the boards, 44-28.
    Portal returns to Region 3W-A competition when it hosts Johnson County Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The girls will face off at 6 p.m.

Lady Redskins 63, Lady Panthers 19
    Olivia Melvin dropped a game-high 27 points as the Bryan County Lady Redskins cruised to a 63-19 win Saturday at Portal.
    Diamond McGirt added 18 points in the win.
    For the Lady Panthers, Megan Anderson, Megan Moore and Boshna Williams each scored four points. to lead Portal.

Portal 66, Bryan County 45, JV
    The Portal junior varsity Panthers cruised to a 66-45 win over Bryan County Saturday in Portal.
    Portal’s Shaun Hagins led all scorers with 21 points. Robert Lee added 17 for the Panthers.
    Damon Johnson finished with 14.
    Bryan was led by RaeKwon Love, who scored 12.

Lady Redskins 57, Lady Panthers 32, JV
    The Bryan County junior varsity girls defeated Portal 57-32 Saturday. Aalyiah Gaines scored 13 points and Diamond McGirt added 11. Casey Carr scored eight for the Panthers.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.