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Southeast Bulloch ready to tip off basketball
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    The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets may have a brand new look and a brand new gym, but it’s the returning faces that are going to lead the team into 2007.
    The Jackets return seniors Gerald Williams and Walter Davis, who have both been involved in the program all four years, as well as leading scorers James Scott and Tony Raymond.
    “Those guys are primarily the guys that have led the way for us,” said SEB coach John Page.
    Southeast dropped a scrimmage game on Thursday at Washington County, and while it didn’t go they way Page had hoped, he was pleased with the resiliency he saw.
    “We didn’t do as well as we wanted to,” Page said. “ We got behind, but we came back and played consistent throughout. (It has been a ) short time to get ready for Statesboro.”
    When SEB travels to Statesboro to play the Blue Devils, they will only have one week of practice under their belts, but Page knows what SHS offers when the two teams meet.
    “What they’re going to do is they’re just going to come out and they’re going to try to pressure us by playing a lot of people,” said Page. “That’s the main thing. They’ll try to wear us down. We know that from the last couple years of playing them.”
Page is pleased with the progress he has seen with his team, and he feels that the experience is going to pay off.
    “I think our guys have grown up a little bit these past few years, and hopefully we’ll be a little bit more competitive this year,” said the Jacket coach. “Our guys now — most of them are juniors this year — so they’ve got some experience now, and we’re going to try and play at least 10, maybe 11 people this season.
There’s a little bit of confidence going in. We haven’t yet been proven. They still have to prove how good they are. I think we worked hard over the summer, so we’re looking forward to this year.”

Lady Jackets come
with a new attitude

    The facelift on the gym is not the only thing that has changed for the 2007 Southeast Bulloch Lady Yellow Jackets. They also have gone through a change in attitude.
    “The new gym is a really nice facility, and hopefully we can bring with it a new attitude and a new direction to the program,” said Lady Jacket coach Mark Smith. “We’ve talked about that as far as the new gym. The team’s new, the attitude’s new, and hopefully that will pay dividends this year.”
    The Jackets will rely on the leadership of two seniors. Casey Jones — also the keeper for the Lady Jacket soccer team — and DeAnn Lewis, a softball player in the fall, will set the tone for the success of the squad as a whole.
    “They both bring a great attitude, a work ethic, hustle and overall leadership,” said Smith, “and I will be counting on them a lot this year. They’re the only two seniors I have. I’ve got five juniors and seven underclassmen. They’re going to make up a big part of our program.”
    With all of the youth, Smith has spent the offseason focusing on fundamentals. He feels that the team has improved in this area, and he will be depending on the performance of the younger players.
    “I think (our youth) will show during the first half of the season,” Smith said. “We’ll be better prepared for the second half of the season after these girls get acclimated to the speed of the game. JV and varsity are just two totally different levels. That is going to be our biggest Achilles heel right now — our inexperiance at that level.
“    We’ve got some girls with some varsity playing time, but when we go to the bench, we lack a lot of speed. It’s going to hurt us for a while. We’ll take our bumps, but I think we’ll be better for it.”
T    he Lady Jackets kick off the season tonight at 6 p.m. at Statesboro. The men hit the court at 7:30.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.