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Local teams begin state hoop playoffs this week
Elijah Mincey.jpg
Bryan County's Elijah Mincey with an easy layup Photos by Gilbert MIller.

The Bryan County boys and Richmond Hill girls will be on the road in the opening round of the GHSA state basketball tournament after not being able to advance past the opening round of their respective region tournaments.

Both teams will be playing Wednesday night as the No. 3 seed Redskins (12-16) play at Heard County (8-16) at 6 p.m. The No. 4 Wildcats (15-11) take on Pebblebrook (17-9) at 5 p.m.  

The Bryan County girls (21-5), meanwhile, play at home at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night against Temple (15-12) after dropping a 70-39 decision to Woodville-Tompkins in the Region 3A-D1 championship game.

Richmond Hill earned a berth in the Region 1-7A tournament with a hard-fought 45-43 win over Camden County on Monday night and then had to turn around and play at Valdosta the following night.

After losing to the Wildcats, 65-37, Richmond Hill lost to Colquitt County, 47-35, two nights later which resulted in a number four seed.

Coach Sarah Jones is not daunted by the task facing her team but admits beating Pebblebrook will not be easy.

 “We have to be disciplined and execute on both ends of the floor,” Jones said. “We’re going to try and slow the game down some and play our game.

 “They are a good team, but I feel if we play our game and play together, we give ourselves a good chance of winning.”

 Winning on the road in the state playoffs is always difficult and it was made more difficult for Bryan County when it lost leading scorer sophomore Elijah Mincey for two games when he was ejected with 1:17 to play in a 72-62 semifinal loss to Savannah High on Thursday night.

Mincey was called for a technical foul and as he followed the official to the scorer’s table she whirled and called him for a second technical which mean automatic disqualification.  At the time Savannah was clinging to a 66-62 lead. Nayshawn Heyward then drained all four free throws to put the game out of reac

GHSA Constitution and By-Laws rule 2.72.5 calls for an ejected player to sit out the next two games and he must also complete a National Federation of High Schools Sportsmanship Course online.

The next night the Redskins got excellent play from its bench and grinded out a 56-43 win over Screven County but Mincey’s absence was obvious.

“He does a lot of things for us other than scoring,” Coach Brent Anderson said. “He’s a very good defensive player, a good passer and distributor of the basketball. He’s a very unselfish player and very competitive.”

Mincey finished with 19 points against the Blue Jackets. Devontae Bowers added 14 and senior point guard Jamal Campbell had 13. The game was tied, 35-35, at the half and Savannah led 53-48 after three.

Campbell had an excellent floor game offensively and defensively as he scored 17 points against the Gamecocks, getting several baskets on slashing drives through traffic which resulted in acrobatic layups.

Junior Javin Collins, however, gave the Redskins a much-needed lift when he came off the bench to score a career high 15 points. Jordan Flannel added nine while Chris Winfree and Justin Beck had six each.

 With a big hole to fill offensively the Redskins stepped up the defensive pressure to make amends. They led 30-27 at the half and started the third quarter on an 8-2 run to put some space between them and the Gamecocks.

 “I told them it starts with defense,” Anderson said. “If we got some deflections, some tips, good rebounds we could generate offense.”

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