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Devils get started

Last year, the Statesboro girls were just a few points away from reaching the Final Four in the state basketball tournament.

If the Lady Blue Devils have their way this season, that will have just been the beginning of something much bigger.

Four starters return to defend Statesboro’s Region 2-AAAA championship, and they have every intention of continuing the trend.

"We know that we have some good talent on this team," said SHS coach Jeff Seier. "There are some good teams in our region that can give us a fight, but we feel like we can be the best if we play our game each night."

That game involves tons of running and a lot of dominance inside the paint.

Junior forwards Alisia Jenkins and Sierra Kirkland led the charge for the Devils last season and will do so again this year. Both stand at 6-foot-2 and have good skills whether they are facing the basket or down in the post. They really demonstrate their value in their ability to run the court as part of Statesboro’s up-tempo style of play.

"We definitely like to run," said Seier. "We feel like we have the depth to wear on some teams and get them tired."

As good as the Devils were last season, this one could be even better. In addition to the returning players having one more year of experience, two key additions have been made to the roster.

Veljalisa Canty comes to Statesboro this year after being a key component of Metter’s squad last season, and Ericka McDade — who was named second team All-Region in her freshman year — returns as starting point guard after missing the 2009-10 campaign with a knee injury.

"We’re excited to get the season underway," said Seier. "We have some challenging games that we think will prepare us well, and we’re confident that we can go out and have another good season."

The Statesboro girls begin their season tonight at 7 p.m. in Savannah as they take on Windsor Forest in the Southside Shoot Out.


SHS boys keep ball rolling

Similar to the girls’ team, the SHS boys’ squad will try to advance farther into the postseason this year.

Last season, the Devils clinched the No. 3 seed out of Region 2-AAAA, but were ousted from the state tournament in the first round by Glen Hills.

Back for another run this season is senior guard JaQawn Raymond, who led the team in scoring a season ago.

Joining Raymond are fellow seniors Edwin Harvey and Brickeye Hendley. All three saw multiple starts and crucial minutes last season and will be leaned upon heavily to carry Statesboro this season.

"We have a pretty young team," said SHS coach Lee Hill. "When that’s the case, you need your seniors to step up and lead. The quicker we can come together as a team, the better we can be."

One thing that could prevent the quick chemistry of Hill’s team is the continuing success of another Statesboro squad.

Michael Summers, Reggie Owens, Willie Johnson and Yakeem Coleman will all suit up for the Devils this season, but are currently preoccupied as the football Devils remain alive in the state playoffs.

"I’m rooting them on," said Hill. "I hope that they can go all the way. It will be good to have them on the floor, but we’ll find a way until then."

Statesboro begins its season tonight with a game at Windsor Forest beginning at 8:30 p.m.


Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.