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Statesboro boys win region championship, girls fall short
SHS basketball
Statesboro High's Muhammad Shareef, center, Kam Mikell, left, and Raylin Grant celebrate after the final buzzer as Bradwell's Jahzhia Thomas pleads for a foul on the final play of the Blue Devils' victory in the region finals on Friday, Feb. 16. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The Statesboro Blue Devils split a pair of games in the region championships held Friday night in Statesboro. The Blue Devil boys won a hard-fought contest with Bradwell 39-38, while the Lady Blue Devils fell to Ware County 47-36.


For the boys it was a defensive battle which saw the Blue Devils hold Bradwell to just 11 points in the first half. The Tigers battled back to take a three-point lead in the fourth quarter. Statesboro came back to take a 35-34 lead on a basket by Mike Goodman with 2:20 left and would never trail again. D.J. Brown hit a driving layup for a three-point lead with :30 seconds to go, and Goodman sealed the deal with a free throw to put Statesboro up by four with less than 10 seconds to go in the game.


“Championship games are never easy,” said Statesboro coach Keith LeGree. “As long as I have been here, I know Bradwell won’t quit. When they took the lead, I was proud of the fact that we were able to keep our composure. We got in some foul trouble and the guys we brought in off the bench played well. Kam Mikell and Cam Wilkerson came up with some big plays for us and D.J. Brown has been clutch for us all year long. I am proud of the effort they gave out there tonight.”


Brown led the Blue Devils with 17 points and was the only Statesboro High player in double figures.


“It has been a total team effort throughout the year and that was evident out here tonight,” Legree said. “This is who we are. We don’t have a go to guy, our go to guy is whoever is open.”


Next up for Statesboro they will host No. 4 seed M.L. King from Atlanta who posted an 18-10 record in the regular season. That game is scheduled for a 6:30 start Wednesday.


SHS basketball

The Statesboro Lady Blue Devils beat Ware County by 19 points just 10 days ago. Friday night the Gators got a little payback as they knocked off the Blue Devils 47-36.


Ware County jumped out to a 16-2 lead over the first six minutes of the game. The Blue Devils got as close as seven points but struggled from the field and were outrebounded significantly as they lost to the Gators and dropped to the No. 2 seed in the state tournament.


“I thought we had a good game plan but we didn’t execute like I thought we would,” said Statesboro coach Marty Holder. “Our shots weren’t falling and we were not rebounding. They were doubling down on Alyssa Staten all night and that stopped a lot of things that we were game planning for. They did things a little differently than they did the last time we played. We run inside out and they did a good job defending both tonight.”


Blue Devil center Alyssa Staten was held to just nine points while Reya Johnson led the way with 14 points. The Blue Devils were 3-14 from behind the three-point line. Holder knows to be successful in the state tournament they have to have a different mindset than what they had Friday.


“If we are going to be successful in the state playoffs we have to rebound and play defense,” Holder said. “We didn’t do a great job of that tonight, but hopefully we can do better moving forward.”


Statesboro will host No. 3 seeded Chamblee (16-6) Wednesday at 5:00.