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Portal Holiday Classic tips off

    PORTAL — The Portal Panthers closed out Worth County in the fourth quarter and won 71-64 on Friday in the finale on the opening day of the Portal Holiday Classic.
    Robert Lee Scored 19 points to lead the Panthers, including 8 in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
    Trailing 48-47 at the start of the fourth, Lee drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Panthers a lead they didn’t relinquish.
    “We played smart and we hit our free throws after that,” Portal coach Jeff Brannen said. “Robert Lee came in there at the end of the game and controlled the tempo. We fed off of that, went out and got a bunch of easy baskets.”
Stacy Morgan scored 15     points for Portal and Marquis Wells added 14.
    Worth County’s bigs dominated the paint in the first half, and Anfernee McLemore finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Brandon Moore added 12 points and 8 rebounds.
    “We knew we had to be more physical in the second half and we did a better lob on the boards against their bigs,” Brannen said.
    Portal trailed by 7 points at the start of the third quarter but went on explosive 15-4 run to take a 44-40 lead. The Rams fought back and led 48-47 after three quarters.
    The Panthers threw the first punch, starting the game on an 8-0 run, but Worth County answered. The Rams didn’t score until 4:40 remained in the first quarter, but went on a run of their own and took a 12-11 lead when Dontate Cooper hit a free throw late in the first.
    Portal got the lead back, but the Rams closed the first half on a 15-4 run, including a last-second 3-pointer by Kendralias Collier from half court that swished at the buzzer and left WCHS ahead 36-29 at the break.
    Trent Thomas got into early foul trouble and finished the first half wirth only three points, two of which came on a two-handed dunk off of an offensive rebound. He finished with a pair of dunks and nine points.
    Portal faces Georgia Military today at 8 p.m.

South Effingham 73, SEB 64
    The South Effingham Mustangs held off Southeast Bulloch 73-64 Friday at the Portal Holiday Classic. The Mustangs’ Tyler Hagan led all scorers with 19 points. Sean Lemon added 13.
    SEB’s Sheldon Hendrix drilled three 3-pointers in the first quarter but cooled off as the game progressed, as the Mustangs pulled away. Lamont Ballard led the Jackets with 13 points.
    Southeast Bulloch faces Jenkins County today at 7 p.m., as the tournament continues.

SEB 38, Mt. Pisgah 35 (Girls)
    The Southeast Bulloch Lady Yellow Jackets held off Mt. Pisgah 38-35 Friday afternoon at the Portal Holiday Classic.
    Philicia Batton led all scorers with 17 points and Kourtney Northcutt added 6 for the Jackets.
    SEB faces Portal today at 4 p.m.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.