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SEB boys deal with youth; girls struggle with numbers
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    The Southeast Bulloch boys and girls teams open play tonight in Brooklet when they host cross-county rival Statesboro. The girls will tip at 6 p.m. with the boys’ game immediately to follow.
    Coming off a three-win season, head coach John Page has just one senior (Keith Ross) to work with on his boys squad this season, a team mostly made up of underclassmen.
    Along with Ross, sophomores James Scott and Tony Raymond will be key for the Yellow Jackets. Scott was the team’s second leading scorer in ‘05-’06.
    “Hopefully, with the majority of the young guys we have, we’re hoping that leadership comes from within,” said Page. “If our one senior becomes that leader, then we’ll follow, but it’s not all on him.”
    On the court, Page said the Yellow Jackets will look to pick and choose when it comes to running an offense.
    “We want to play it up-tempo,” said Page. “But we know with some of the people we’re playing against we’re going to have to slow it down at times. Primarily, we’re just trying to control the ball.”
    For the Lady Jackets, coach Milton Williams has just eight girls on the varsity roster headed into tonight’s game. Two sophomores, four juniors and seniors Lauren Akins and Brittany Carter make up the 2006-2007 SEB team, posing a depth problem for Williams.
    “We’re in the same situation that we’ve been in the last couple of years,” said Williams. “We’re short on numbers but we still have a pretty good nucleus of players. It’s just that depth is going to create a problem for us.”
    Carter and Akins are the two top scorers from a year ago, and will have to be leaders for SEB.
    “They’re going to have to step forward and carry the load,” said Williams. “Offensively and defensively there going to have to show some of the younger players the ropes.”
    Of the rest of the team, Williams said there’s really only one other girl who saw playing time last year, meaning the Lady Jackets will have to grow up in a hurry. On the court, SEB will have to use a motion offense and a zone defense to try and slow the game down.
    Both coaches pointed to Laney, Josey and Screven County as being top teams in region 3-AA.
    “You can’t look at our schedule and see anybody out there that you’re going to have an easy time with,” said Page.
    Williams thinks 3-AA may be one of the best in girls’ basketball regions in the state.
    “This may be one of the toughest region’s in the state,” said Williams. “It’s only going to make us better. You play (everybody) twice so you don’t have any time not to be prepared.”

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912)-489-9404.