The Statesboro boys had to overcome injuries, foul trouble and a fourth quarter deficit, but in the end they were able to remain unbeaten in region play as they hung on for a 46-44 victory over New Hampstead Tuesday night.
“Beating a team that was 3-0 in region play, we will take the win any way we can get it,” said Statesboro coach Lee Hill. “We struggled at the line, and making shots overall, but you have to give it to our players. They made the plays when we needed them.”
Statesboro found themselves with a rare 8-1 deficit to start the game, and in fact, did not score their first field goal until Zarion Griffin’s 3-pointer with 1:25 left in the first quarter made it 10-4.
Griffin went on to make another 3 and a three-point play to cut the New Hampstead lead to 14-11 at the end of the first eight minutes.
Griffin had to leave the game early in the second with an injury to his wrist, after a hard foul and he did not return to action.
Tyler Goodman tied the game at 14-14 in the second on a 3-pointer. The Phoenix came back with a couple of baskets by Tyrell Gavin — who had 10 points in the first half —and New Hampstead took a five-point lead.
Daniel Cooper’s first basket of the game came on a 3-pointer late in the second, and Statesboro closed the half on an 8-0 run, going into the half on top 25-20.
The lead would go back and forth throughout the second half.
A couple of layups by Cooper were answered by a pair of 3's by the Phoenix's Romaine Bennett to give New Hampstead a 33-31 lead with 1:30 left in the third. Amaru Daniels added a 3 just before the buzzer and the Phoenix had a 38-33 lead with eight minutes left to play
In the fourth, Cooper started to take over, scoring nine of his game-high 18 points. A Cooper layup with 3:05 to go cut the lead to 42-40. A pair of free throws by Tray Burns tied the game at 42-42 with 2:25 to go.
“Cooper did what we needed him to do, take over the game, that’s what we need out of our seniors,” Hill said. “He only had three points in the first half. We told him we needed him to start playing and he had 15 points in the second half.”
Statesboro took its first lead of the second half on a Cooper three-point play with 1:06 to go in the game, which gave the Blue Devils a 45-42 lead.
New Hampstead cut the lead to 45-44 with 23 seconds to go in the game as Samuel Brown made a layup and was fouled. Brown missed the free throw and Statesboro remained up by one.
After a desperation heave with six seconds still remaining in the game, the Phoenix fouled Cooper who missed the first, but made the second free throw to make it a two point lead.
Cooper then stole the ball at midcourt and was able to hold onto it as the buzzer sounded and Statesboro improved to 15-3 (3-0) while New Hampstead fell to 11-6 (3-1).
Statesboro was led by Cooper with 18 and Zarion Griffin had 9 points. New Hampstead was led in scoring by Tyrell Gavin with 14 points.
Lady Blue Devils 55, Lady Phoenix 34
The Statesboro girls basketball team rebounded nicely from their first region loss of the season as they cruised out to a 20 point halftime lead and went on to knock off New Hampstead by a final count of 55-34.
The Blue Devils (10-8, 2-1) jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter on a couple of 3-pointers by Lacy Robins. A Bailee Roberts putback and a Kamorie Jackson 3 made it an early 20-7 advantage for Statesboro.
New Hampstead (4-10, 0-4) cut the lead to 21-13, but back-to-back Roberts layups were followed by six straight points by Destiny Hartwell and the Blue Devils extended their lead to 35-15 at the half.
In the second half, a couple of baskets by Roberts extended the lead to 43-20 with 2:45 left in the third, and the Blue Devils ended up coasting to the 21 point victory.
“It was kind of what we expected as New Hampstead is a little down this year,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Seier. “We played well enough to get a win and these region wins are all important.”
Statesboro was led by Roberts and Hartwell who each had 16 points, Robins added 11. New Hampstead was paced by Rekell Benton with 11 points.
“Bailee did a great job moving without the basketball, Destiny did a great job underneath the basket getting offensive rebounds and putting them back,” Seier said. “Lacy did a great job of finding them open and hit a couple three pointers early in the game.”
Both the Statesboro boys and girls will look to keep up the momentum in region play as the Blue Devils host Wayne County on Friday. The girls will tip off a 6 p.m., with the boys following in the late game.