BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch boys dropped their season opener one week ago.
There was barely any time to recoup as Region 1-AAA play began Tuesday, but the Yellow Jackets responded with a 64-59 win over Islands.
The Jackets (1-1, 1-0) managed to hold a small lead through much of the first three quarters and rode an efficient offense and timely shooting to hold off a late charge by the Sharks and seal the win.
“There is so much talent in this region,” SEB coach John Page said. “If you want to be one of the top four teams at the end of the season, you definitely have to win your home games. This was a good start that we really wanted.”
Dra Harrison scored all of his 12 points in the second half and it was a pair of his field goals and a free throw that helped to keep Islands at bay down the stretch.
An administrative technical due to an incorrect scorebook spotted the Jackets a 2-0 lead after Lamont Ballard hit a pair of free throws and Sheldon Hendrix connected from behind the arc to set the pace early on.
Islands’ Justin Cave led all scorers with 23 points, hitting on a pair of 3-pointers and all six of his free throws in the fourth quarter to keep the Sharks within shouting distance.
“We know how tough things will be in this region,” Page said. “There is no room to take it easy. Islands is much improved from last season and I think we got a good taste of the effort it will take to win each night.”
Southeast Bulloch held a lead throughout the final quarter, but a 3 from Cave and a driving layup by Sean Render (14 points) drew the Sharks within three points with 1:22 to play.
Islands had a pair of possessions where it could have drawn even, but a missed shot and a turnover left it empty handed.
Harrison converted a three-point play with under a minute left to give SEB breathing room and hit another free throw with 8.9 seconds left to ensure the victory.
Lady Jackets 32, Lady Sharks 31
Cole Robertson scored just five points for the Southeast Bulloch girls Tuesday night, but the final two couldn’t have come at a better moment.
Robertson muscled through traffic and banked in a layup with eight seconds remaining to give the Lady Yellow Jackets (1-3, 1-0 Region 1-AAA) a 32-31 victory and a good start in region competition.
“We have been telling the girls that they need to step up and they finally did,” SEB coach Kristen Barnhill said. “It got down to the last quarter where we had to work hard for every shot and rebound. I’m proud of the way our girls responded and came through in a big situation.”
The Jackets saw just six players score and none cracked double-digits.
Destiny Burke and Jaime Brown each scored eight points, helping to build a 13-5 lead after one quarter before being squandered and then won back in the final seconds.
Trailing 27-21 after three quarters, the Sharks rallied to take a late lead.
SEB was forced to foul late, but was able to end up with the ball and a one-point deficit in the final seconds.
With the Lady Sharks playing not to foul and send an SEB player to the line, the Jackets were able to fire a pass in to Robertson in the lane. Robertson had her defender on her hip and made the ensuing layup look easy.
The SEB boys and girls return to region action Friday as they host Pierce County.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.