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SHS wears out Ware
Statesboro High's Zarion Griffin, top right, gets a tap on the face from Ware County's Cam Brown, left, as he scores on a drive in the second quarter on Friday, Jan. 24 - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT

The Statesboro Blue Devils swept a pair of region games at home Friday night against Ware County. The girls knocked off the Gators 60-28, and the boys completed the blowout sweep, winning their game by a score of 78-45.

The Statesboro boys won their 17th straight game behind solid defense and balanced scoring. The Devils opened the second half on a 23-2 run to turn a respectable score into a runaway win as they improved to 18-5 overall and 7-0 in region play.

“I really like the way we turned things up in the second half,” said Statesboro coach Lee Hill. “We didn’t have our offense going too well in the first half, but we played solid defense the whole game, and then started hitting in the second half.”

The Blue Devils helped secure home court throughout the region tournament for the boys and the girls with a win Tuesday against Wayne County. Statesboro has yet to be tested in region play as they have won all seven games by an average of over 20 points per game. The closest game they have played was a 14-point win over Wayne County Tuesday night in Jesup.

“It’s tough to come out hot every game,” Hill said. “There are going to be nights where the shots just aren’t falling, but that’s why it is so important to always play well defensively. That has been the key to our season, how well we play defense.”

Statesboro struggled a bit from the field in the first half. The Gators had success with their 2-3 zone, and the Blue Devils weren’t able to shoot them out of it. The Gators cut the lead at one point to two at 16-14, but the Blue Devils relied on their defense for the rest of the half, and took a 30-19 halftime lead.

“Our defensive pressure really got to them in the second half,” Hill said. “Kobe Altman finally got his shot to fall, and we got a lot of baskets on fastbreaks, after steals.”

In the second half the Blue Devils put the game away. Statesboro’s pressure defense caused five straight turnovers, and Kobe Altman drilled three shots from behind the arc as Statesboro went on a 23-2 run. Coach Hill was able to sit the starters with just under five minutes to play, and Statesboro held a 66-37 lead.

“It’s good to be able to get some of those younger players in the game,” Hill said. “It’s also good to get our starters some rest as we get ready for the regional tournament, and hopefully the state playoffs.”

Statesboro was led by Zarion Griffin with 18 points, while Kobe Atlman added 13 points.Dominick Williams had 10 pints to lead the Gators.

The Statesboro Lady Devils were able to rebound from their lone region loss of the season, as they used a 15-0 run to end the first, and put things away early. The 60-28 win improved the Blue Devils to 18-5 overall and 6-1 in region play.

The Lady Devils only deficit came at 4-3, and then they went on a 20-0 run to extend their lead to 23-4. Lacy Robins helped on both ends during the run creating turnovers, and making baskets on the offensive end of the court.

“Lacy had her usual solid game tonight for us,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Seier. “I felt like we had moments of playing well together, and defensively we had a solid game.”

The Blue Devil lead could have been even more than 30-14 at the half, but the Blue Devils missed seven layups in the first half.

“We got the shots we wanted, and our offense was flowing smoothly,” Seier said. “We have to try and finish a little better, but we rebounded well and had played pretty solid the whole game.”

The Blue Devils shot a lot better in the second half, and played solid defensively as well. Statesboro outscored Ware County 18-6, and went on to cruise to the 32 point victory.

“It’s tough at times to get up for a team like Wayne County, and then play a team that we know we should be able to handle pretty well,” Seier said. “We have to try our best to be consistent, as we know, the games only get tougher the closer you get to the state playoffs.”

Statesboro was led by Robins with 15 points, Jamiah Jones added 14, while Sara Ellis chipped in with 11. Nextup Statesboro hosts Bradwell Saturday at 6:30.