The Statesboro boys were happy to be at home to begin their run in the Class AAAAA state playoffs, but weren’t thrilled about their No. 2 seed in the tournament bracket.
Coming off an upset loss to Wayne County in the Region 2-AAAAA championship game, there was some question of whether or not the Statesboro boys would allow that loss to affect them in the opening round of the state playoffs against Woodland. For a quarter it looked like it might, then the Blue Devils went on a 21-0 run and rolled on for an easy 77-49 victory.
The Blue Devils trailed 10-8 at the end of the first quarter before Zarion Griffin and Kobe Altman took over. Griffin scored eight of his game high 27 points in the second quarter. Altman scored 11 straight points in the midst of the run, including hitting three straight long range three pointers, Statesboro opened up a 35-16 halftime lead, and never looked back.
“Our defense was solid throughout, but our offense has been struggling so getting things going in the second quarter was huge,” said Statesboro cach Lee Hill. “Zarion did a great job of attacking the rim, and Kobe bounced back from a bad night and shot really well.”
Hill had said after the Blue Devils loss to Wayne County that he needed someone other than Griffin to step up. Altman answered with 16 points, including the 11 points he had in the second quarter.
“I feel like we had a little more balanced attack tonight,” Hill said. “I also feel like Leslie Black played well inside, and a few of our younger players had good nights as well.”
In all likelihood, Friday marked Statesboro’s final home game of the season as the Blue Devils await the winner of the Buford vs. Decatur game tomorrow night. Statesboro would host in the second round if Decatur wins, but Buford finished the regular season at No. 3 in the Class AAAAA poll and is a heavy favorite in its postseason opener.
If Friday was the last game it marks the final game at home for Statesboro seniors Zarion Griffin, Jo Burns and Jacobi Edenfield.
“I told those guys before the game to finish things strong,” Hill said. “They have all made big contributions to the program, and I;m glad they will all get another game to play, even if it is on the road.
Buford and Decatur play Saturday at 5:30 at Buford. The second round matchup will take place either Wednesday or Thursday.