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Statesboro finishes ECI tourney with win over Treutlen County
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    The Statesboro Blue Devils ended their showing at the Emanuel County Institute Christmas Tournament on a positive note, routing Treutlen County 74-47 Friday night. A 25-9 second quarter proved to be the difference and the Devils’ defense held the Vikings to just 30.6 percent shooting.
    Statesboro (6-6) finished 2-1 in the tournament and SHS head coach Lee Hill was pleased with his team’s effort.
    “Looking back, I thought we didn’t play well (Thursday night), but tonight and the night before (Wednesday night) we really scrapped. I thought we did a lot of good things, getting on the rebound and having a lot of intensity.”
    Statesboro won both their games by an average of 25 points, but struggled to get going in the first quarter of all three contests.
    Friday night was no different, and it took a complete line-up change halfway through the first period to get things going. With the score tied at five, SHS went on a 10-2 run to end the frame and then held the Vikings without a field goal for the first 4:04 of the second. Treutlen was just 4-for-19 in the first half from the floor.
    "The defense has been there," said Hill. "But the good teams, you have to start off. We're playing good defense but the score is still 9-8. We still need to score more. That concerns me and we have to do something to fix that in a short period of time."
    Once SHS put Treutlen away in the second quarter, the Devils did accomplish spreading the ball out and getting everyone involved. Ten of the team’s 12 players scored, led by Patrick Parker’s 15, Nakeavis Hunter’s 14 and Sean LeGree’s 13. Parker came off the bench and pulled down 11 rebounds in the win. LeGree had seven points and six rebounds in the first quarter alone.
    Treutlen County did make a run at SHS in the third, putting in its best shooting performance. The Vikings went 7-for-14 and ended the quarter on a 14-4 run to cut the lead to 51-34. But instead of riding that momentum into the fourth, the Vikings decided to throw up 3 after 3 to let SHS pull back away for the win.
    Statesboro out-rebounded the Vikings 52-26 and went 22-for-32 from the free throw line. The Blue Devils forced 23 turnovers (16 in the first half) while giving the ball away 20 times themselves.
    Statesboro returns home Tuesday to welcome Griffin at 6:30 p.m. The Blue Devils will look to avenge a 58-46 loss to the Bears on Dec. 21 in Griffin.
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912)-489-9404