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Statesboro boys clamp down on defense, earn 56-37 victory in first round of state playoffs
Raylin Grant
Statesboro senior guard Raylin Grant (4) drives in for two of his nine first half points as Statesboro advanced past MLK in the opening round of the state playoffs Wednesday night in Statesboro. - photo by JOSH AUBREY/staff

Statesboro High head basketball coach Keith LeGree was proud of his team for holding Bradwell to just 11 points in the first half in last week’s region championship. Wednesday night the Blue Devils took the defense up another notch as they held M.L. King to just six first half points, and cruised to a 56-37 win in the opening round of the state playoffs at Statesboro High.

“I felt like our guys came out focused and played great defensively,” LeGree said. “To hold a team in the state playoffs to six points in a half is very impressive. We went over the scouting report and told the guys what to do, but it is up to them to go out and execute a plan and I feel like they did a great job of doing that tonight.”

The Blue Devils were led by Raylin Grant with 17 points while Kam Mikell added 12points. The majority of the Blue Devil’s points in the first half came off of steals and rebounds leading to fast break points. In the third quarter it was more of the same as the Blue Devil lead extended to 43-17.

“I think these guys feel like they can make a run here in the state playoffs and you could tell that with the way they played tonight,” LeGree said. “From the last couple weeks of the regular season through tonight you can see things really have gone up as far as intensity and the drive to play good basketball. I like what I have seen from this team and I hope they can keep this thing rolling.”

The only negative of the game for the Blue Devils came in the fourth quarter. The second team unit came in and struggled forcing Legree to put his starters back in with just under two minutes left in the game.

“Those guys work hard and deserve some playing time,” Legree said. “When they get in there, they have to play smart and control the ball. They were struggling out there and I had to put the starters back in. We have to be able to create depth and not worry about a drop off.”

Next up Statesboro will host Dutchtown who was 17-9 and 11-1 in region play this year. The game will be Saturday, but the time of the game is yet to be announced.