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Devils split with Effingham County
121016 SHS HOOPS 01
Statesboro High's Jaylon Hicks, left, reacts after Effingham County's Jaden Rodriguez, right, hits a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Rebels the win in overtime Saturday at the Devil's Den. Statesboro began the season with high hopes, but injuries and some bad luck have them sitting on a 1-5 record as a holiday tournament approaches next week. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

By CHRIS STANLEY
cstanley@statesboroherald.com

    Not even Cameron Harvey's double-double in his first game back from injury could save Statesboro from falling victim to a buzzer-beating three from Effingham County Saturday night.
    “I like the way be battled tonight,” said head coach Lee Hill. “Once we get everyone well, we’ll be alright come January.”
    Tied 53-53 in overtime with 2:24 left in the period, Harvey would find Tyler Goodman open in the corner for a big three-pointer to put Statesboro up 56-53. However, Goodman would come up short a possession later missing two free throws after Effingham County had turned the ball over.
    The charity misses led to a driving lay-up by Rashaud Roper to bring Effingham within one point, then two possessions later Harvey would come up big again by sinking two free throws to put the score at 59-55.
    But the next possession Jalen Rodriguez hit a three from dead center of the line to make it a one point game, then turned around and stole the ball to drive down the lane and draw a foul. After hitting both free throws, Effingham led 59-58.
    Now with just 13 seconds left, Harvey would take the ball down the court and right into the key in the midst of two Effingham defenders. Harvey’s first shot was no good, put his following putback was — and drew a foul to for good measure.
    “He stepped up big time after only one day of practice,” Hill said. “He got a little winded but made some huge shots.”
    He’d finish the and-1 to put Statesboro up 61-59 with eight seconds left, giving Rodriguez enough time to drive 27 feet from the basket and nail an NBA-caliber three to continue Statesboro’s losing streak.
    Statesboro — still riddled with injuries — made this a closer rematch than their first loss to Effingham County 52-46. 21 points and 13 boards from Harvey was enough to bring Statesboro eight seconds from getting off the schnide, but without Traveon Burns (hip) Daniel Cooper (thigh), Jarquez Cone (knee) and Chris Hill (knee) — Statesboro could still struggle up until January.
    “This is the worst injury luck I’ve ever had,” Hill said, a coach of 35 years. “We’ve had six at the time this year. It’s the darndest thing I’ve ever seen.”
    Statesboro (1-5) won’t play again until next weekend when they travel to Albany to participate in the U-Save-It tournament, starting Friday.

Big second half spurs Lady Devils
    Statesboro overcame a slow shooting first half with help from 34 points from the Robins sisters to beat Effingham County 57-42 Saturday night.
    The night wasn’t always kind to Lacy and Amber however, as the two would combine for 4-of-17 shooting to see their team trail at halftime 19-14. 17 First half turnovers would plague the Statesboro offense as well, preventing the Lady Blue Devils from setting up any kind of offense let alone score a basket.
    “We didn’t seem to doing anything very well,” said head coach Jeff Sier. “Not even hustling.”
    Statesboro would only score four points on 1-of-12 shooting in the second quarter to give Effingham a 19-14 halftime lead. Then coming out of halftime Alayja Connelly hit a driving layup on Effingham’s first possession to put Statesboro in their biggest deficit of the night at seven points.
    But the third quarter saw the Robins’ — specifically Amber — take control of the game and surge the Statesboro offense. Amber shot a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the Arch after going 1-of-5 first half, while Lacy would add six points, three boards and three assists.
    The sisters would combine for 18 of Statesboro’s 26 third quarter points, doubling up Effingham County’s output of 12 to lead 40-31.
    “Those two can stretch the floor pretty good,” Seir said. “We started to penetrate well then kicking out for open looks, and the shots started to fall.”
    Statesboro would continue the offensive onslaught behind the Robins’ duo, peeling off an 11-3 run to start the final quarter and go up 51-34 for their largest lead of the game. Effingham would make one final push to cut the lead to nine, but by then time had run out on the Lady Rebels.
    Lacy Robins finished 7-of-20 from the field for her 17 points, but added 11 rebounds, five assists, five steals and three blocks. Amber was 6-of-11 (5-of-6 in the second half) with 17 points, while JaPaige Jacobs added 12 points, six from downtown.
    Statesboro (4-2) gets a week off before traveling to Valdosta for a three game stint at the Big South Shootout, starting Dec. 19.