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Lady Devils roll in home opener
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Statesboro's Shanika Buie, center, is sandwiched by Ricmond Hill defenders Alyiah Johnson, left, and Tay Reynolds while going up for a shot in the third quarter Monday.

    It doesn’t take much to get Statesboro going, and when the Blue Devils punch, it hurts.
    Statesboro (3-0) found itself in an early 6-0 hole, but a 21-4 run that spanned much of the first half got the Devils out in front and they cruised to a 58-30 win over the Lady Wildcats Monday night in the second game of the Ladies Night Out tournament hosted by Statesboro.
    “I liked the way that we came out and played tonight,” said SHS coach Jeff Seier. “We did a lot of little things well. We were able to execute on offense and create good looks, and our free throws went down tonight.”
    Tonight, Statesboro and Screven County will face off at 7:30 p.m. to decide the winner of Ladies Night Out.
    Sierra Kirkland led the way for the Devils with 12 points and 8 rebounds as Alisia Jenkins added 10 points and 9 rebounds and both Aneisha Drummer and Ericka McDade scored eight.
    Both teams played suffocating defense in the opening minutes, and Sydney Millek’s 3-pointer just over two minutes in marked the first points of the game. Alyiah Johnson — who was the only Wildcat in double-digits with 16 points — sand another from long range on the next possession to give Richmond Hill its short-lived lead.
    Drummer got the Devils on the board with a layup, and after a short jumper by Jenkins, Drummer hit on a 3 to give Statesboro a lead it never relinquished.
    The Devils’ constant press proved to be too much for the Wildcats, who turned the ball over on four of their next five possessions as Statesboro stretched its lead.
    “We could tell that Richmond was trying to slow the game down early on,” said Seier. “We kept our composure on the offensive end and our press really paid off for us and helped create more offense.”
    In all, the Devils tallied 11 steals and were able to convert many of them into easy layups at the other end.
    McDade nailed a 3 at the first half to give the Devils a 26-14 lead at the break, and the onslaught continued as they ran the margin up to 41-29 midway through the third quarter to put Richmond away for good.

Screven County 50, Claxton 25
    Bria Lonon notched her third consecutive double-double to start the season to help Screven roll past Claxton by a count of 50-25 Monday night in the opening game of Ladies Night Out hosted by Statesboro High.
    Lonon led the Lady Gamecocks (3-0) with 14 points as Screven controlled the game from the opening tip.
    Forcing multiple turnovers and converting in transition, the Gamecocks built an early 17-6 advantage.
    A 6-0 run by the Lady Tigers (0-3) pulled them to within 17-12 early in the second quarter, but that was as close as Claxton got.
    Coming out of the locker room with a 28-16 lead, the Gamecocks made the game’s decisive run.
    Lonon scored twice inside and a Cas Austin 3-pointer highlighted an 11-0 run to begin the second half.
    Shameekia Murray (6 points) finally scored Claxton’s first points of the third quarter, drilling a 3 with 1:26 remaining, but Screven took a 41-21 lead into the fourth quarter and easily ran out the clock.
    Both teams will be in action again tonight as the Ladies Night Out tournament concludes.
    Claxton will face Richmond Hill at 6 p.m. while Screven takes on Statesboro at 7:30 p.m.

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