The Statesboro Blue Devils find themselves in a familiar position again back in the state playoffs following their 74-65 win over Richmond Hill Friday night.
Myles White led the Blue Devils (16-9, 9-4) with 25 points, including six free throws in the final 30 seconds to stave off the Wildcats effort at a comeback. In fact, free throws were the story of the game as Statesboro went 14 for 19 while the Wildcats only made 10 of 30 attempts.
“That was really big for us,” Statesboro Head Coach Lee Hill said. “We went eight of 10 down the stretch. We’ve been working really hard on free throws all year and it paid off tonight.”
The win clinched the second seed in the Region 3-AAAAA playoffs and with that, a bye to the semifinals.
“No one thought we would be here at the beginning of the season. We have a young team and I’m proud of the way they’ve worked to get to this point.
The Blue Devils found themselves in foul trouble late in the first quarter, but the Wildcats were unable to take advantage, missing nine of their 17 free throws in the first half. Statesboro, meanwhile, went two of four in the first half.
White had 14 first half points and Cameron Harvey added nine to give Statesboro a 34-28 lead at intermission.
Statesboro looked like they might take control of the game at the start of the second half, going on a quick 8-3 run keyed by back to back three-pointers by Jaylen Patrick. However, the Wildcats were able to claw back, trailing by eight at the end of the third quarter.
Late in the fourth period, the Wildcats cut the lead to four following and Andre Walker three pointer. From there, Statesboro’s free throw shooting took over as the Blue Devils’ final 10 points came from the line.
By winning their sub-region and claiming the number two seed, the Blue Devils won’t have to play again until Thursday, giving Statesboro some much needed rest.
“We’ll be able to sit back, rest and figure out who we play next week,” Hill said.
Lady Devils top Richmond Hill
Behind a suffocating defense that held the Lady Wildcats scoreless for long stretches and the offense of Tanice Johnson and Alexus Hunter, the Lady Devils routed Richmond Hill 45-24 on Friday night.
The Lady Devils defense harassed Richmond Hill all night, not allowing any easy shots and allowing few second chance opportunities. During a nine minute stretch covering parts of the first and second quarter, the Lady Devils went on an 11-0 run to extend their lead to 16-4 and essentially put the game away.
Back to back three pointers from Richmond Hill sandwiched around a Hunter put back cut the lead to 18-10, but Statesboro scored the final seven points of the half to take a 25-10 lead into halftime.
Statesboro’s defense started the second half dominating again, holding the Lady Wildcats scoreless for nearly five minutes but had trouble finding the basket themselves. If Richmond Hill had any hopes of coming back, six points in the final 1:10 of the quarter, including two free throws resulting from a technical foul on Richmond Hill’s coach ended those thoughts.
Johnson led the Lady Devils attack with 18 points while Hunter added 11 for Statesboro.
The win created a tie in the sub-region standings between Statesboro and Richmond Hill that had to be settled by coin toss to determine the ninth seed. Richmond Hill won the toss, giving them the nine seed and making Statesboro the tenth.
The Lady Devils will be back in action Monday as the Region 3-AAAAA tournament tips off at Effingham County High School. Game times will be determined today.