Bryan County’s girls couldn’t take advantage of playing at home Tuesday night as they dropped a 55-48 decision to Temple in the opening round of the GHSA Class A-D! state playoffs.
Temple used its superior height and hot-shooting to stun the Redskins (21-6) who saw a 22-21 halftime lead go by the wayside when the Tigers went on a 13-2 run starting in the third quarter and carrying over into the fourth to overcome a 30-28 deficit.
The highlight of the night for the Redskins came with senior point guard Kenzie Stucker surpassing the 1,000-point mark in career scoring. Stucker needed three points to hit the magic mark and the 5-foot-4 dynamo scored 10. She finished with 1,007 points and more than 500 rebounds.
Sophomore center Ashanti Brown scored 15 points to lead Bryan County while freshman guard Jasmine Mikell also scored 10 against a Tigers 3-2 zone which forced the Redskins to rely on their outside shooting game.
Kayley Wedlow, who led the Redskins in scoring at 22 points per game, was limited to five points as the Tigers defense hounded the junior forward on every possession.
Temple (16-12) also enjoyed an excellent shooting night as it hit seven three-pointers. Sophomore guard Ayah Howell scored 19 points, 10 in the second half, and 6-0 sophomore MacKenzie Nix added 16.
Nix also had a big second half as she scored 11 points, eight of them coming in the third when he led a 17-10 surge which proved to be too much for the smaller Redskins to overcome.
The Bryan County boys and Richmond Hill girls are on the road Wednesday night after failing to advance past the opening round of their respective region tournaments.
The No. 3 seed Redskins (12-16) are at Heard County (8-16) while the No. 4 Wildcats (15-11) play at Pebblebrook (17-9).
Richmond Hill earned a berth in the Region 1-7A tournament with a hard-fought 45-43 win over Camden County on Monday night only to lose to Valdosta, 65-37, the following night. Two nights later it lost to Colquit County, 45-37.
Coach Sarah Jones is not daunted by the task facing her team but admits beating Pebblebrook will not be easy.
“We have to be disciplined and execute on both ends of the floor,” Jones said. “We’re going to try and slow the game down some and play our game.
“They are a good team, but I feel if we play our game and play together, we give ourselves a good chance of winning.”
Winning on the road in the state playoffs is always difficult and it could be more difficult for Bryan County after leading scorer sophomore Elijah Mincey was ejected with 1:17 to play in a 72-62 semifinal loss to Savannah High on Thursday night.
Mincey was called for a technical foul and as he followed the official to the scorer’s table she whirled and called him for a second technical which mean automatic disqualification. The Redskins were trailing, 66-62, but when the Blue Jackets’ Nayshaw Heyward hit four straight free throws it proved to be too much to overcome.
GHSA Constitution and By-Laws rule 2.72.5 calls for an ejected player to sit out the next two games and he must also complete a National Federation of High Schools Sportsmanship Course online.
Mincey missed the consolation game with Screven County but the Redskins got 17 points from Jamal Campbell and 15 from Javin Collins coming off the bench to grind out a 56-43 win over the Gamecocks..
“He does a lot of things for us other than scoring,” Coach Brent Anderson said of Mincey. “He’s a very good defensive player, a good passer and distributor of the basketball. He’s a very unselfish player and very competitive.”
Mincey finished with 19 points against the Blue Jackets. Devontae Bowers added 14 and Campbell had 13. The game was tied, 35-35, at the half and Savannah led 53-48 after three and it remained close until the back-to-back technicals.
Against Screven the Redskins stepped up the defensive pressure to make amends for Mincey’s absence. They led 30-27 at the half and started the third quarter on an 8-2 run to put some space between them and the Gamecocks.
“I told them it starts with defense,” Anderson said. “If we got some deflections, some tips, good rebounds we could generate offense.”