PORTAL — On the last day of the of Portal’s Holiday Classic on Wednesday, the Bryan County Lady Redskins used strong first and third quarters to dominate Portal in a 48-27 victory.
Against Bryan County (10-4 overall, 3-2 Region 2-AA), the Lady Panthers couldn’t overcome a poor shooting night.
Chandalier Morgan scored a game-high 17 points. Breyonna Raymond had seven points.
Defense and rebounding were points of emphasis entering the 2015-16 season for Portal girls basketball coach Cliff Hubbard. Last night, the Lady Panthers had glimpses of a solid defensive team, holding the Lady Redskins to just 10 second-quarter points.
“The first half was pretty decent. We just couldn’t hit our shots. The second half, our defense was still there, but I think their talent level just took over. A little bit bigger school with more players,” Hubbard said. “After a while, if you’re not playing a perfect game, a team’s talent level may come into play, their depth may come into play.”
Hubbard said playing a quality team like Bryan County can help as the Lady Panthers (3-8, 1-1 Region 3-A) play a couple of important region games against Woodville-Tompkins and Jenkins County.
“Hopefully, we can go out in those two games and get some wins. We want to be in position to get a good region ranking. We’re 1-1 in the region, and hopefully we can get a couple of wins,” Hubbard said.
Wednesday night, the Lady Redskins jumped out to an early 12-4 lead in the first quarter, but in the second quarter, the Panthers battled back to cut the deficit to just four points. At halftime, the Redskins led 22-18.
However, in the third quarter, the Lady Redskins caught fire, outscoring the Lady Panthers 15-2.
With the Lady Redskins’ defense keying in on Raymond and Morgan, Hubbard tried to find another scoring threat.
Arieanna Wiggins had a few open looks, but couldn’t capitalize.
“We’re kind of putting Wiggins in positions to get to her jump shot because she’s a really good shooter. I think she just needs to get more shots to get her confidence up,” Hubbard said. “We’re looking to get her going and get our post players some easier looks.”
On Tuesday in the Portal Classic, four BCHS players scored in double figures to lead Bryan County to a 54-45 win over Jenkins.
Julianne Brown led the way with 18 points and added five rebounds and four assists. Yaz Crawford chipped in 13 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. Alayna Williams had 10 points and seven rebounds, and Kaylin Leggett contributed 10 points and three steals for the Lady Redskins.
Bryan County head coach Mario Mincey called the contest "a tough and physical game from the jump.”
"I was pleased with the team effort on the defensive end,” he said. “It was good to get the win, but it was more important to play well after the Christmas break. I was really proud of how Alayna Williams and Alyssa Edwards stepped up in the victory."
In Bryan County boys' hoops action at the Gentlemen’s Classic in Statesboro, the Redskins fell 74-50 to Liberty County on Tuesday and 67-37 to Westover on Monday to drop to 6-5 overall.
Bryan County will resume region play against McIntosh County Academy on Tuesday in Darien.
The Bryan County News staff and Jeff Whitten contributed to this article.