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Boys' basketball: Bryan County reach region semifinals with win over Claxton
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Bryan County’s boys took care of business Tuesday afternoon as they cruised past Claxton, 49-36, in the opening round of the Region 3A-DI basketball tournament.


The win advanced the Redskins (16-9) to the semifinals of the tournament where they will play Savannah High (17-8) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Metter. The game with Claxton was played at Screven County.


Coach Brent Anderson’s team also earned a spot in the Class A-D! state playoffs for the third year in a row as it held off a Tigers (2-24) team it had beaten twice in the regular season by 20 and 21 points.



“It was a weird game,” Anderson said. “We played at 4 p.m. and there was no one at the game. The gym was practically empty.”


Sophomore Gerbrae’vion Collins scored 15 points to lead Bryan County and he got support from Elijah Mincey who had 10 and Mike Smith who added eight.


It was Bryan County’s third straight win and its seventh in its last nine games and Anderson is hoping the momentum will continue against a Blue Jackets team which is ranked No. 3 in the state by the AJC.


Last Friday night the Redskins played perhaps their best all-around game of the season as they hammered Southeast Bulloch, 64-47, in a remarkable turnaround from an earlier season game where they lost to the Yellow Jackets, 64-38.


“They run a 1-3-1 (zone) and they’re long,” Anderson said when asked to explain the turnaround. “Over at their place we shot 3-for-30. We knew we had to make the corner shot and tonight we were able to do that.”


The Redskins had a season high 13 3-pointers by six different players. Six of them came in the second quarter when Bryan County went on a 20-11 tear for a 32-21 lead at the break. They led by as many as 23 in the third quarter.


When it was over the Redskins had four players in double figures with Lyric Daniels leading the way with 16 points. Mincey and Jayden Odum had 12 each, and Smith added 10.


It will take another similar effort if Bryan County has any hopes of beating the Blue Jackets, a tall, rangy team which presents matchup problems.


Savannah and Woodville-Tompkins (21-3) which is ranked No. 4 in the state, tied in regular season region play, each going 9-1 with the lone loss coming against one another. The Wolverines won the coin flip for the No. 1 seed.


“We match up with Woodville better,” Anderson said. “I would rather be playing them in the second round because of that but it really doesn’t make any difference. We’re going to have to beat both of them if we’re to win the region.”


Mincey leads the Redskins at 15.6 points per game and he has been a marked many by every one this year. It has taken a physical toll on him but he said he is as healthy as he’s been all season.


The 5-9 guard was an all-region cornerback in football where he suffered injuries to both shoulders and his knee. It was in the second game against Savannah High he reinjured the knee and had to miss three games.


“It’s been a great season but it’s been stressful at times,” Mincey said. “I get beat on everywhere we go. Everyone we play tries to take me out (of the game). They’ll push and shove and double team me.


“It hurts after every game. When I go home at night I just shower and go to bed because I’m tired. I have to thank my teammates for showing up every night.”


Anderson said he believes Mincey’s three-game absence could prove to be a blessing for his team which won all three of those games.


“Everyone knows our offense goes through him,” Anderson said. “He’s not a big kid and teams are playing him more physical this year. We’re having to be a little more creative to find some ways for him to get to the basket because he’s shooting the ball really well right now.


“I think when he was out the guys gained some confidence when they won without him,” Anderson said. “We (coaches) learned about some guys that we can count on. We learned we can take Mincey out to get him a minute or two of rest and not have big drop off.”

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