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Girls’ basketball: Bryan County’s playoff run ends with loss to Rabun County
The Redskins fell in the quarterfinals, with a scoreline of 71-45
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Bryan Couny’s girls’ basketball playoff run came to a screeching halt Tuesday night as Rabun County came out hitting on all cylinders for a 71-45 win over the Redskins in the quarterfinals of the Class A-DI state playoffs.


Rabun County (24-6), the state runner-up two years ago, advances to the Final Four for the seventh time under Coach Dee Dee Dillard who has missed the state playoffs only one time since taking over the program in 2007.


That experience and program tradition along with playing at home showed as Rabun County jumped on the Redskins (26-4) early and never looked back. Bryan County, which had to travel 250 miles to Tiger for the game, had won 11 straight going into the contest  


“Their seniors played well for them,” Coach Mario Mincey said of the Wildcats. “They hit big shot after big shot.

“Early foul trouble hurt us but you have to give credit to them and their crowd. They made it tough on us. They’re a good solid team.”


Kayley Wedlow scored 17 points to lead the Redskins. Wedlow is one of only two seniors on the team along with Tashiya Burlingame who played limited minutes in her first year of basketball.


Ashanti Brown added 14 points and sophomore Katelyn King who was one of the team’s most improved players over the course of the season, had seven points. Jasmine Mikell had three while Liz Harvey and Soniya Whitaker had two each.


Mincey knew what he was up against going into the game as he had done extensive film study on the Wildcats.


“They’ve got a real good point guard, they’re a solid team with experience,” Mincey said prior to the game. “The big thing with us is we’ve got to play our game, play defense, not let them get away and make some shots.”


That game plan quickly went out the window leaving Mincey looking at next year which on paper looks like it should be another good one. The Redskins won their first region championship this year since 2017. Other region championships, according to a banner hanging in the gym, were claimed in 1981, 1992, 1997, 2005 and 2011.


Brown, who averaged 14 points and 13 rebounds per game, will be back for her fourth year as a starter and is closing in on both 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Mikell, a sophomore, has started all 57 games the last two years, and she and Brown will team to give the Redskins a solid one-two punch.


King and Liz Harvey had solid seasons as did Nevaeh Lovett. Whitaker also returns and will give Brown support on the boards. The middle school, which was 12-1 this season, will be sending not only talent but some much needed height and Mincey has never been shy about playing young players.


The Redskins had a couple of blips at the end of the season as Harvey suffered a knee injury which cost her five games and left her less than 100 percent down the stretch. The 5-foot-8 Whitaker missed the first two playoff games with an illness.


King stepped in and started while Whitaker was out and was an example of how Mincey manages a roster where everyone is involved.


“We just swap roles,” Mincey said. “We mix and match. If someone goes down it may take two kids to do it but in practice, we keep everyone involved. Everyone knows what’s going on.


“Brianna Crawford, for example, doesn’t play a lot in some games and in others she goes a lot. She’s always ready. King understands her role better. I tell her to find the minutes that are available and work at them, whether it’s on the wing or the post.”


The Redskins will drop down to Class A-DII next year and will be in a region with Savannah, Portal, Metter, Claxton, ECI, Jenkins County and McIntosh County Academy. They’ll be favored to repeat with their main competition coming from Metter.



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