BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets began 2020 on the right note, as the boys and girls swept the visiting Groves Rebels Friday night in Brooklet. The girls used an 18-2 run to win 54-22 while the guys notched a 73-51 victory over the Rebels.
The Southeast Bulloch girls were a bit lackluster early on before coming on strong at the end of the first quarter, outscoring the Rebels 8-2 to grab an 18-11 lead.
“I’m not sure if it was the break or what, but we came out flat,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Meredith Belcher. “Toward the end of the second quarter we picked it up a little, which was good to see.”
The Lady Jackets maintained their intensity in the second quarter, racing out to a 28-11 lead on the strength of a 10-0 run. The Jacket run was keyed by solid defense, creating turnovers and easy baskets on the other end.
The second quarter proved to be the key for the victory as the Jackets outscored the Rebels 20-4, and took a 38-15 lead into halftime. Delanie Thames scored six, Madison Taylor and Shazaria Johnson scored four points each in the decisive third quarter.
“When we went in at halftime I told them to really deny the passes, and pressure them full court,” Belcher said. “Sometimes we play down to our competition. I think we saw them standing around, and so we were standing around. In the second half they picked it up and made some easy baskets.”
“I think they play off of each other, and when they are running and playing hard it is contagious,” Belcher said. “Our second team came in, and played pretty good as well. They played hard because they saw how hard the first group played.”
The win improves the Yellow Jackets record to 7-8 overall and 4-2 in region play. The Jackets were led in scoring by Taylor with 15 points, Johnson and Lizzie Cone each added eight points. Groves was paced by Mariah Bhajwani with nine points.
The Southeast Bulloch boys shook off a couple of scoring lapses in the first half, against the visiting Rebels as they pulled away in the second half for a 73-51 victory.
Neither team came out very sharp, but the Jackets looked as though they’d pull away toward the end of the first quarter. Leading 10-9 Southeast Bulloch closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 19-9 lead.
“We got a lot of contributions from a lot of young guys tonight,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Matt Kuykendall. “I liked the way we moved the ball tonight, but we need to work on our transition defense, as that is what allowed them to keep hanging around.”
The Jackets would continue their run in the second quarter extending their lead to 28-11, highlighted by an alley-oop from Khristian Clark to Janard Mike. The Rebels came back to score eight straight, and the two teams went into the half with the Jackets leading 33-24.
In the second half the Jackets were able to maintain their double digit lead, and eventually pull away. Mike provided most of the points in the paint, scoring 11 of his game high 22 points in the second half. The Jackets also got 15 points from Ryan Swanson, including a step-back three pointer that left his defender grasping for air.
“Once we started to settle down, and ran the offense in the second half, I felt we looked pretty good,” Kuykendall said. “We need to communicate better on defense, but we have some new faces playing more minutes, so that’s understandable.”
The win improves the Yellow Jackets overall record to 6-8, while they are now 3-4 in region play. Southeast Bulloch was led by Mike with 22 points, Swanson added 15, while Clark had 14 points. The Rebels were led by Tremanie Johnson with 14 points.
Up next Southeast Bulloch hosts Savannah High Saturday night with the girls tipping off at 6:00
Statesboro sweeps through New Hampstead
The Statesboro boys and girls got their respective region seasons off to a good start on Friday night as both cruised to wins over New Hampstead in Bloomingdale.
In the boys' game, star guard Zarion Griffin outscored the Phoenix all by himself. Griffin netted 51 points — just two shy of the school record — as the Blue Devils crushed New Hampstead by a score of 85-40. Griffin connected on six 3-pointers Friday to help his huge outburst. Four of those six came in the first half and he connected on an amazing 16 attempts from the field during the game.
Griffin was the only Blue Devil to hit double digits as his teammates sat back and enjoyed the show, but it was still a solid all-around effort as eight other Devils registered points on the night.
The early game featuring the Statesboro girls wasn't quite as lopsided, but it was still a pretty easy victory for the Lady Devils.
Statesboro won by a count of 51-35 and was led by Lacy Robins' 19 points.
Both SHS teams will be back in action tonight as they step back outside of region play to host a doubleheader against Swainsboro.