BROOKLET — Statesboro rolled to an easy victory over Southeast Bulloch Tuesday night as the Blue Devils built a big lead by halftime and cruised to a 51-22 win.
Jaqawn Raymond led all scorers with 17 points and Michael Summers chipped in 11 more as Statesboro bounced back from a loss at Swainsboro last week.
“We wanted to try a lot of different things tonight,” said SHS coach Lee Hill. “We played zone throughout the first half and man-to-man in the second. The region schedule is coming up, so we wanted to take this opportunity to see how we responded to different situations.”
Things didn’t start out quite so easy for the Devils.
SEB started off the game in a zone defense that did a good job of covering the floor and denying Statesboro inside looks.
“I saw that (SEB) was packing everyone down low,” said Hill. “We could have taken easy outside shots, but I wanted us to be patient and try to work the ball inside.”
With Statesboro leading 7-6 late in the first quarter, the Devils finally got going.
Solid defense led to 11 SEB turnovers in the first half, and by creating scoring opportunities in the transition game, the Devils were able to strike before the Jackets could set up in their zone.
The easy buckets, coupled with 3-pointers by Zaquavian Smith and Raymond, sent Statesboro on a 22-8 run that spanned much of the second quarter and only a pair of buzzer-beaters by SEB’s Devonte Tremble (15 points) kept the Jackets within 29-14 at the break.
As the second half began, Statesboro’s advantages in size and quickness finally started to take their toll.
The Devils dominated the boards and racked up second-chance points while — with the exception of Tremble — the Jackets couldn’t get much of anything going on offense. Statesboro’s superior depth also showed as SEB started to wear down and the Devils took a commanding 39-17 into the fourth quarter and had little trouble in running off the final eight minutes of playing time.
“Having our football players back with us helps,” said Hill. “It really opens up a lot of what we want to do, and you could see us playing better with our depth late in the game.”
Lady Blue Devils 63, Lady Jackets 25
The Statesboro girls fared just as well as the Lady Devils came out strong and produced a dominating 63-25 win over Southeast Bulloch.
Heavily favored going into the matchup, Statesboro showed its dominance as the Blue Devil starters raced out to a 22-3 lead after the first quarter.
Many members of the junior varsity saw action as Statesboro started to empty its bench in the second quarter, but the Devils continued to pull away, taking a 33-9 lead into halftime.
“We wanted to get our younger girls some playing time,” said SHS coach Jeff Seier. “I think they might have been a little nervous playing in front of a bigger crowd, and we have some things that we can improve on, but overall I was pleased with how they responded.”
Junior forward Alisia Jenkins led all scorers with 15 points as 10 different Devils scored.
Starters for both teams returned to the floor for the beginning of the second half, but Sierra Kirkland (12 points) and Raven Thomas (10 points) combined to score the first 12 points of the third quarter for SHS and the Devils’ JV squad reentered for the rest of the game. Statesboro continued to cruise even after the substitutions as it opened the half on an 18-0 run to put the game far out of reach.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.