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SEB girls begin region tourney with win
Southeast Bulloch's Marissa Stanert, left, wrestles with Appling County's T'erra Wilkerson for a rebound during the second quarter of the GHSA Region 1-AAA tournament on Monday in Brooklet. SEB won 56-38. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch girls had to fight and claw through the majority of their Region 1-AAA tournament opener Monday night, but a steady resolve and a big fourth quarter run paved the way for a 56-38 victory over Appling County.
    The Lady Yellow Jackets (15-11) defeated the Lady Pirates last Saturday in the regular season finale to earn the No. 4 seed in the region tournament. Just over 48 hours later, SEB put an end to Appling’s postseason.
    “Appling came out with a little different strategy this time,” SEB coach Johnnie Miller said. “They fought hard like we knew they would, but we were able to play a little better as the game went on.”
    With the win, SEB moved one step closer to earning a second consecutive trip to the Class AAA state playoffs. A win in Wednesday’s quarterfinal against Pierce County will clinch a berth at the state tournament.
    Jasmine Roberts scored 22 to lead the way for SEB while Philicia Batton scored 13 and Destiny Burke added nine more.
    The Jackets led 26-16 at halftime and — after Appling scored four points in the first 23 seconds of the third quarter — Roberts scored seven of the next nine to keep SEB comfortably ahead.
    Two Lady Pirates fouled out in the final period and those that remained were clearly dragging as Southeast Bulloch — which used 10 girls in rotation during the game — stayed fresh and pulled away. Batton hit a free throw to stretch the lead as far as 21 points and SEB reserves played solid down the stretch to run out the clock on the win.
    “There’s definitely some pressure now that we’re in the postseason,” Miller said. “We’ve got girls like Jasmine and Philicia who were part of our team (that made the state playoffs) last season. We’re leaning on them right now and it’s good to see everyone responding.”
    The Pirates spent most of Monday night becoming frustrated with SEB’s defense and launching ill-advised shots.
    Mikela Barlow let Appling with 18 points and connected on five 3-pointers, but none of her teammates were able to heat up in the do-or-die game.   

Pierce County 43, Brantley County 36
    In Monday’s first matchup, Pierce County pulled away over the final two quarters to earn a 43-36 victory over Brantley County.
    Nene Shaw scored nine of her game-high 19 points in the second half and Phila Bryant (12 points) and Alexus Shaw (6) helped bring the win home for Pierce.
    Brantley County was even with Pierce at 17-17 at halftime and team leading scorer Caitlyn Morgan scored all 12 of her points over the final 16 minutes, but the Lady Herons managed just seven points from the rest of their roster during the third and fourth quarters.
    Pierce County moves on to face Southeast Bulloch in the quarterfinals of the Region 1-AAA tournament. SEB will square off with the Herons Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Beach High School in Savannah.

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