By JOSH AUBREY
The Effingham County Rebels were able to come back from what seemed like certain defeat on a number of occasions, but in the end Statesboro was able to win a double-overtime thriller 53-50.
The Blue Devils (ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA) were taking on their fourth state ranked opponent in their last five games. On Saturday night the Blue Devils hosted No. 4 Effingham (Class AAAAAA) whose lone blemish came at the hands of the Blue Devils Dec. 1 by a score of 68-53.
This one went back and forth throughout with the Blue Devils jumping out to a 12-10 first quarter lead as Tray Burns hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Effingham — paced by five points from Tyrone Scott — then grabbed a 21-17 lead as the Blue Devils managed just five points in the quarter.
The Devils were able to retake the lead in the third thanks to defensive pressure and the play of Michael Hill. A Hill layup with 2:30 left in the third gave Statesboro a 25-23 lead. Hill then had a putback, and a three pointer to extend the Statesboro lead to 32-27.
With Statesboro up 38-35 The Rebels Demonte Lee hit a three pointer tying the game at 38-38. Statesboro turned the ball over, and Effingham held the ball until firing a desperation three by Tydarius Fish rattled off the rim sending the game to overtime.
In overtime the Blue Devils were up 46-41 with 25 seconds to go in the game, but Fish hit a layup and was fouled with 14 seconds to play. Fish missed, but the Rebels managed to get the rebound and Lee launched a three pointer that would end up sending the game to a second overtime.
In the final overtime Statesboro got clutch baskets from Zarion Griffin and Chris Hill, and a half court heave by Lee hit only the backboard as Statesboro won by three.
“Effingham has a great team and we knew it would take all we had to beat them again,” said Statesboro coach Lee Hill, “It came down to the wire, we made some mistakes, but were able to come back and pick up the win. Hopefully we can use a win like this later in the season if we are in a similar situation.”
Tray Burns led Statesboro with 14 points while Daniel Cooper scored 10. Effingham's Tydarius Fish led all scorers with 19.
Lady Devils 49, Lady Rebels 26
The Lady Blue Devils won their second straight as they beat Effingham County 49-26 Saturday.
“I guess you can call it a streak,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Seier. “We came out sluggish in the first half but really turned things around in the second half.”
The Blue Devils led 20-15 at the half, but then outscored Effingham 14-5 in the third, and 15-6 in the fourth. Jamiah Jones had a couple three pointers in the third, Lacy Robins hit for 8 second half points and Bailee Roberts added six points in the fourth to pace the Blue Devils.
“I felt like Lacy did what we expect but I was proud of our freshmen,” said Seier, “Bailee and J.J. made big buckets, but so did Jania Joseph and Alexis Ward.”
Statesboro was led by Roberts with 15, Robins added 13. Effingham was paced by Emma Hartzog with seven points.
Next up the Statesboro girls play in the Savannah Holiday Classic December 15-19. The boys head to Albany for the U-Save-It Holiday Classic December 15-17.