Coming off a disappointing 1-2 finish in the U-Save it Classic, hosted by Albany High School, the Blue Devils had something to prove as they hosted their own tournament Saturday afternoon.
As the host team in the Sack Gentleman’s Classic, Statesboro willed their way to a 66-37 win over Jenkins County.
Cameron Harvey was the team’s leading scorer, finishing with 15 points. Michael Salomon finished in double figures with 11 points and Myles White had eight points.
Early in the game, Statesboro head coach Lee Hill didn’t like what he was seeing from his starters on offense. Just five minutes into the game and leading 4-3, Hill put his bench players in.
“I’m still disappointed about (U-Save It Classic) but I have to put it behind me. We came out a little sluggish offensively tonight, but as the game went on we played better,” said Statesboro High School head coach Lee Hill. “That team was real scrappy. I love the way they played. That’s a team that will make you better.”
In the first quarter, the Blue Devils (7-4, 2-2 Region 3-AAAAA) had trouble scoring against the War Eagles’ “scrappy” defense.
Both teams combined for just seven points in the first five minutes of the game. Towards the end of the second quarter, the Blue Devils began to pull away. Tyler Goodman, who finished the game with five points, gave his team a spark with back-to-back baskets. The first, a transition layup and the second a deep three-point shot.
The Blue Devils’ second unit scored 20 of the team’s overall points.
“I thought the second unit played well tonight,” coach Hill said Saturday night after the team’s seventh win of the season. “That’s why I didn’t hesitate putting them in.”
In the third quarter, the Blue Devils defensive pressure became too much for the War Eagles to handle. Midway through the third, Statesboro went on a 14-1 run to extend their lead to 45-23.
“Before the game we had to come together because we didn’t do so well at Albany so we decided to come back and just do better,” said Statesboro’s Marcus Kirkland. (Coach Hill) told us that the second unit needed to come out better and perform better as a team.”
Though Kirkland, isn’t an everyday starter he finished the game with six points. The 6-foot-2 junior also had the play of the night.
Leading 50-32 late in the fourth quarter, Kirkland drove hard through the lane and dunked over a War Eagles’ defender. The bench jumped to their feet, putting the proverbial icing on the cake for the Blue Devils.
“It took me by surprise,” laughed Kirkland after the game. “It all was a blurr. I just went up and dunked. I think we can come back strong in the second half of the season.”
Next the Blue Devils will face Monroe (7-3, 6-0 Region 1-AAAA) at 8 p.m., Monday.
What a Show
In the first game of the Sack Gentleman’s Class at Statesboro High School, Davon Mitchell and Richard LeCounte put on a show for the fans against Johnson High School.
Mitchell and LeCounte, both star players for Liberty County, combined to score 53 points in a 94-63 victory over the Atomsmahsers.
Mitchell had a team-high 27 points. However, the highest scorer of the evening would go to Johnson’s Damonte Green. Green finished the game with 32 points.