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SHS faces ARC for region showdown
Devils need win, heads or tails
SHS HOOPS 5 col bw
Statesboro seniors Sean LeGree (5) and Nakeavis Hunter (4) scramble for a loose ball against Jenkins in this file photo. Hunter and LeGree are part of six senior Blue Devils who will be honored tonight before Statesboro’s game with the Academy of Richmond County.
    It’s Senior Night tonight at Statesboro High where the Blue Devils welcome the Academy of Richmond Hill. For Justin Houston, one of six seniors to be recognized prior to the game, there’s not a better way to go out than with a win over the Musketeers (15-9, 6-1).
    “It’s going to be very exciting,” said Houston. “It’ll be a very fun game. I’m going to come out and have fun.”
    Morgan Doty, a senior who primarily comes off the bench for SHS, added his thoughts about the game.
    “You never really stop and think about (the last game),” he said. “This is the last game before everything gets real hectic, so we’ll just try to enjoy it as much as possible.”
    The Blue Devils have assured themselves a first-round region game at home next week, so tonight isn’t technically the last time the blue-and-white faithful will have to see their boys play. Region 3-AAAA gives the remainder of the tournament to the winner of the region’s North Division in boys play. That winner will be decided tonight.
    “If we win the game we’ll be tied (with ARC),” explained SHS head coach Lee Hill. “We’ll both be tied for first place and the tiebreaker will come down to a coin flip.”
    Hill hopes that coin flip will come immediately following tonight’s contest — if the Devils do indeed pull out a win. Statesboro (14-9, 5-2) has won eight in a row dating back to Jan. 13. Their last loss was to the Musketeers, 67-63.    
    “I believe we matured more as team,” said senior Sean LeGree of the winning streak. “We began to be more patient on offense and do more things as a team, instead of playing individual ball.”
    Added senior Shanchez Ware: “We’ve been playing smarter down the wire. In the late part of the games that’s where we’ve been winning. Everybody’s been stepping up.”
    The ARC is coming off a loss to Hephzibah on Tuesday and Musketeer head coach Steve Nobles is fully aware of the challenges ahead for his team tonight.
    “We’re expecting to come into a hornets nest,” said Nobles. “We know Statesboro will be ready on their home court, and coach Hill always has his teams well prepared.”
    Trevor Welcher leads the ARC, scoring 20.5 points a game. Stopping him will be key if SHS has a chance at a victory, said the seniors.
    “We’re going to have to play hard,” said senior guard Nakeavis Hunter. “(Welcher) runs everything and they play hard, so we just have to jump on them and stay on them.”

Lady Devils honor 4
    Marah Everett, Chelsia Connely, Brittany Ross and manager Starnetta Cone will be honored by SHS tonight. The Lady Blue Devils need a win over the Lady Musketeers and to win their coin flip to host next week’s first round region 3-AAAA game.
    “They’ll be a little bit of a revenge factor,” said SHS head coach Jeff Seier. “They beat us earlier in the season in a game we felt we let slip away.”
    The Lady Devils (15-9, 4-3) will have to deal with an ARC team that likes to slow the pace of the game with a 2-3 zone and a big inside game.
    As for the seniors, Seier said each girl has meant a lot to this team.
    “They’re not the stars of this team, but what each one of them brings in terms of leadership has been key for us,” added Seier.
    The Lady Blue Devils will tip at 6:30 p.m. with the boys game to follow. All seniors will be honored prior to the boys contest.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912)-489-9408.