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Girls’ basketball: Redskins defeat Bleckley County, 56-38
Bryan County will now face off against Heard County on Friday for a chance to reach the Elite Eight
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Kayley Wedlow, the Region 3A-D1 Player of the Year, Ashanti Brown and Liz Harvey all scored in double figures Tuesday night to lead Bryan County to a 56-38 win over Bleckley County in the opening round of the Class A state playoffs.


Wedlow had 17 points, Brown had 14 along with another dominating night on the boards, and Harvey added 10 as the three combined to outscore the Royals. Next up for the Redskins (25-3), who now have a 10-game winning streak, will be Heard County (18-8) which held off Bacon County, 51-48, to earn a trip to Pembroke.


The two teams will face off at 6 p.m. Friday. The homesteading Redskins will be looking to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2017. A win over the Braves would also enable them to match the school record for wins in a season set by the 2019 team which finished 26-3.


Bryan County got off to a slow start—it trailed 5-4 after four minutes of play—but once it warmed to the occasion the Royals (15-11) didn’t stand a chance.


The Redskins were without starting center Soniya Whitaker and had sophomore point guard Jasmine Mikell suffer a shoulder sting injury two minutes into the second quarter and Coach Mario Mincey said it took a while for his team to adjust.


“Soniya is sick and it was a game time decision for her not to play,” Mincey explained. “We started Katelyn King who had not practiced at that spot so we had to make some adjustments at the start.

“Then Jasmine got the shoulder sting. It was a mix-and-match of pieces. But we were still able to get the win so that was the big thing.”


Wedlow hit a and-one at the 4:24 mark of the first period to put Bryan County in front for good at 7-5 and it was off to the races for the Redskins who closed the quarter on a 9-2 run.


It was all Redskins in the second quarter when they ramped up the defensive pressure to outscore the stunned Royals, 20-3, for a commanding 33-10 halftime lead.


To its credit Bleckley outscored Bryan County 16-6 in a sluggish third quarter to trail by 13 points going into the final eight minutes but it was too big of a deficit to overcome against a team ranked No. 8 in the state.


“In the third quarter we got a little lazy,” Wedlow said. “When we get a big lead, we can’t give up on the other team. We’ve got to keep going.


“Today’s win just let us know we can do anything that we put our mind to. We’ve just got to take it a game at a time. So as long as we trust each other, keep each other going, keep each other’s heads up then we’re good.”

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