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Bryan County girls (17-4) begin region tournament

 The Bryan County girls failing to make the state basketball playoffs is just slightly short of being the sin of sins as far as Coach Mario Mincey is concerned.

  “They don’t like it around here if we don’t make the playoffs,” Mincey said. “That’s one thing as a program we are expected to do.”

  The Redskins made sure that won’t happen this year as they cruised to a 55-37 win over Screven County last Friday night in a Region 3-D1 game. The win, in its final region game of the season, assured Bryan County (17-4, 7-3) of a second-place finish in the regular season race.

 Bryan County will now get a first-round bye into the semifinals of the region tournament and a berth in the state playoffs as a No. 4 seed at worst. The region tournament, both girls and boys, will be played Feb. 14-18 at Woodville-Tompkins.

Bryan County followed up the win over the Gamecocks with a 58-33 victory Saturday night over Groves, its fourth in a row. The Redskins will be heavily favored to win its remaining non-region games against Portal, St. Vincent’s, Savannah Christian and Southeast Bulloch.

 With region play completed the biggest challenge now is to avoid complacency and maintain a sharp edge going into the region tournament               

 “I’m glad we got it,” said Mincey of the first-round bye. “But you have to maintain. We’ve got to keep playing hard and working to get better.

  “We’ve got to avoid putting our feet up on the sofa. In some ways it’s not good having that first round bye. With a veteran team it’s not a big deal but with a young team like ours you would like to play right away and not have to sit around for a day.

Mincey was pleased with his team’s defensive effort against Metter and Groves as it held an opponent under 40 points for the third straight game and for the 13th time this season.

The veteran coach was steaming following a 64-50 win over Metter and he was not shy in letting his team know about it.

“I was upset after that game,” Mincey said. “It upsets me when we give up more than 40 points. If we hold a team to less than 40 we should win. We played better against Claxton (29 points) and we played pretty good this weekend.”

The Redskins led Metter 16-12 after the first quarter and the Tigers opened the second with a basket to get within two. Bryan County then scored the next 11 points for a 27-16 bulge and the game was never in doubt after that.

Bryan County led 31-20 at the half and enjoyed its biggest lead, 51-28, with 4:10 to play following a pair of free throws by freshman point guard Jasmine Mikell.

Kayley Wedlow scored 22 points to lead the win over Metter and she followed with 19 against Groves. Ashanti Brown had 14 points in each game and 21 rebounds in the two games.

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