The Statesboro girls remained undefeated in Region 2-AAAA play as they rolled to an easy 60-19 victory over Evans Wednesday afternoon at the Devil’s Den.
The Lady Blue Devils rode twin double-doubles from Alisia Jenkins (14 points, 15 rebounds) and Sierra Kirkland (12 points, 10 rebounds) as SHS scored 35 of the game’s final 39 points.
"I think we just had a little too much for Evans," said SHS coach Jeff Seier. "But it’s good that we executed well. All of these region wins are crucial, so we need to be on top of our game all the time."
Both teams executed well in the early minutes and the Lady Knights rode some hot shooting to keep things close through much of the first quarter. However, it was Statesboro’s newest starter that set the rout in motion.
Filling in for the injured Ericka McDade, Veljulisa Canty ran the Blue Devil offense like a well oiled machine.
Leading 14-9 late in the first quarter, Canty knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give SHS a comfortable cushion. The 3’s keyed a 17-0 Statesboro run that took Evans out of contention by the half.
"I liked what I saw from (Canty) tonight," said Seier. "She’s had some nice games lately. I think that she’s rising to the occasion since she needs to play a bigger role now."
With a decisive edge in athleticism, the Devils upped the defensive pressure and caused the Knights to turn the ball over seven times during the run. An almost constant line of easy buckets quickly deflated the Knights and sent SHS on its way.
Armed with a 33-12 lead at the break, Statesboro was able to rest its starters and get its reserves and JV players some quality minutes.
The defense continued to suffocate in the third quarter as Evans found no answer for the Statesboro pressure. The Knights managed just a single free throw as the Devils extended their lead to an insurmountable 49-13 and easily ran out the fourth quarter.
Statesboro hosts Effingham County Friday night at 6 p.m.
Statesboro 54, Evans 48
The Statesboro boys completed the sweep, dispatching Evans by a score of 54-48 in Wednesday’s late game.
After 11 lead changes in just under 10 minutes of playing time, Brikeye Hendley’s short jumper finally put the Blue Devils ahead for good late in the third quarter. Hendley’s bucket sparked a 12-3 Statesboro run and a late rally by Evans came up just short as the Devils notched the win.
Statesboro star guard Jaqawn Raymond led all scorers with 27 points and was the only player for either team that reached double-digits on the night.
Things looked shaky for Statesboro early on.
The Devils were just 1-for-12 from the floor to begin the game while the Knights broke out to a quick 8-2 lead with quick transition points.
Statesboro’s defense was able to keep Evans’ half-court set in check though, which bought some time for the Devil offense to heat up.
Both teams were clicking as they traded the lead on four consecutive second quarter possessions and SHS clung to a 22-21 halftime advantage.
After the Devils’ late run, two 3’s from Evans’ Austin Sandifer (8 points) closed the Knights within 45-44 at the 2:33 mark, but Statesboro was solid from the line and was able to close out the win.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.