The Statesboro girls' basketball team has spent most of the 2019-20 season ranked among the top 10 teams in Class 5-A. The Blue Devils are currently 19-5 overall and 6-1 in region play.
After winning eight in a row, the Lady Devils dropped two straight games to Glynn Academy and Wayne County. Since then Statesboro has won their last two, including a victory over a 16-6 squad from Bradwell Institute Saturday night.
“Something we learned from last year is that we need to play as many good teams as we can,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Seier. “We can’t do anything about our region, but we can go out and play Glynn Academy, Bradwell and some of the teams we played in tournaments. I think that has us better prepared.”
The Blue Devils were in a very similar situation last year, but went into the region tournament having lost two of their last three games. Statesboro went on to capture the region tournament title at Wayne County, and advanced to the state playoffs as the number one seed.
“Most likely we will face off against Wayne County once again,” Seier said. “We won on their floor last year, but I would much rather play them at our place, which hopefully we will get a chance to do.”
One of the obstacles the Blue Devils have had to overcome is, with the exception of Wayne County, their region is just plain bad. In the Blue Devils other five region games they have won by an average of over 29 points per game, making it difficult to go from a 30 point blowout to a back and forth battle with Wayne County.
“The things that you get away with against some of the teams in our region, you can’t do against a good team like Wayne,” Seier said. “The small things like not boxing out, not closing out on a jump shot, those things get you beat when you are playing good competition. It’s something we have to address, and keep working on our fundamentals.”
Coach Seier knows the importance of going into the state as the top seed, as home court advantage can be huge in the playoffs, despite the Blue Devils losing at home in the second round last season.
“The way things currently stack up there would be a huge advantage to playing the other region’s number three seed versus playing the other region’s number four seed. You are also most likely having to hit the road in the second round as a two seed, where you would be at home as a one seed.”
Seier feels his team learned a great lesson in losing in the second round at home last year, and is hoping that fuels their fire as they post season begins next week.
“We know better what it takes to advance past that second round,” Seier said. “We know we have to play with more intensity for a whole game. I feel like the tough non-region teams we have played has us much more tournament ready than we were a year ago.”
Friday will be senior night for the Blue Devils as they wrap up the regular season against South Effingham. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but has been moved up to Friday with the girls getting things underway at 6 p.m.