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SEB loses heartbreaker to Josey
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    BROOKLET — In a game that saw 53 free throw attempts, it was only fitting that it would be two Robert Johnson foul shots that ended Southeast Bulloch’s upset bid over the Region 3-AA defending-champion Josey Eagles (14-1, 5-0) Saturday night.
    With the score knotted at 64 with 8.7 seconds remaining, the Yellow Jackets sent Johnson to the line twice, and his 2-for-4 performance was enough to put the Eagles over the top.
    The largest lead of the game for either team was four, and the Jackets led 51-47 heading into the final period.
    After James Scott tied the game at 64 with a layup, a Johnson foul shot gave the lead back to the Eagles. He would strip the ball on the ensuing Southeast Bulloch possession, forcing SEB guard Leroy Evans to foul him with .2 seconds to go.
    Johnson sank the first one, and when he missed the second, the Jackets simply ran out of time.  
    “Hats go off to our guys for just competing throughout the whole game,” said SEB coach John Page. “(Josey) came at us with everything they had and we held our own, down to the last shot attempt. We made some beginner’s mistakes, but we’ll overcome those. I’m very proud of the way we played throughout the game.”
    Foul shots kept the Jackets in the game throughout. Scott and Tony Raymond combined for 20 points from the line. Josey committed 14 first-half fouls, and when the teams hit the locker room, the game was tied at 30.
    Southeast Bulloch would not allow many second chances for the Eagles, and Scott’s 11 rebounds were the high in the contest.
    “(Rebounding is where Scott) helps us the most,” Page said, “under the basket. Him and Chris Rogers — we’ll have to find a way to get them the ball a little bit more.”
    Scott and Raymond led the way offensively. Raymond led all scorers with 24, and Scott grabbed a double-double by adding 23 to his 11 boards.
    Josey spread the ball around with 10 different players scoring in the win, and had two reach double digits. Hakeem Adams led the way for the Eagles with 11 points, including two 3-pointers, and William Hawes added 10.
    While the loss was a hard one to swallow, Page is optimistic after having seen the level of intensity put fourth by his Jackets against the region’s best.
    “Josey hadn’t lost a game in the region,” said the SEB coach. “I think they’ve played everybody except one team. I feel good. I feel like if we play like we did tonight, we can play with anybody in the region.”
    Southeast Bulloch takes a break from region play when it heads to Jenkins County Tuesday. The girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys take the court at 7:30.

Lady Eagles 65, Lady Yellow Jackets 33
    The Southeast Bulloch Lady Yellow Jackets (4-8, 1-4 Region 3-AA) got ahead of the visiting Josey Lady Eagles (6-9, 3-2) early, but an aggressive full-court press was too much for SEB as they dropped a region contest 65-33 Saturday.
    The Jackets jumped ahead early 7-0, but the aggressive Eagles answered with a run of their own, jumping ahead 8-7. The lead changed hands four times in the first quarter, and the Jackets ended the period with an 11-10 lead.
    “(Josey) came out there a little flat (due to a broken down bus on the trip from Augusta),” said SEB coach Mark Smith. “They got here late, and I think it was a little bit of a wake up call for them. They just started playing their game, which is up and down the floor.”
    The press of the Eagles became effective as they held the Jackets to only four second-quarter points. The Jacket defense responded, holding JHS to eight and trailed 18-15 heading into the locker room.
    Josey welcomed in the third quarter with an 11-4 run, and it was all Eagles from that point forward.
    “We didn’t set up our press break,” Smith said. “We went where they wanted us to go. … We’d go down on the baseline, which is what they gave us. As soon as the ball got in-bounds, they’d jump on us, and we had no where else to go. By the time we fixed it, there was a 20-point lead.”
    Kacey Jones led the Jacket defense with 11 rebounds, and guards Crystal Mikell and Olivia Melvin led the SEB offense with 14 and 11 points respectively.
    “(Mikell and Melvin) are freshmen,” said Smith. “They’re going to make a lot of mistakes because they are freshmen, but they know what to do when they have the ball in their hands and they’re aggressive. That’s why they get a little leeway. You can see when they play, they can be very productive.”
    The Eagles had three players reach double digits in scoring. Decharte Bennings led the way with 14 points, Marnetta Lee netted 11 and Demetria Ellison added 10.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.