By Mike Brown
A year ago Bryan County won the regular season Region 3A-Public race. This year the Redskins are playing for and should finish third in the reconfigured Region 3A-D1.
A third-place finish for Coach Brent Anderson’s team would no doubt feel like a regular season title in that it would mean the Redskins finished ahead of region holdovers Claxton, Metter and Screven County.
The difference from last year to this is Woodville-Tompkins and Savannah High School who are new additions to Region 3A-D1 due to reclassification and they have been dominant.
The Wolverines (10-8, 6-0) and Blue Jackets (14-4, 5-1) have turned the region into their personal playground and it was never more evident than last Friday night when Savannah High handed the Redskins (5-11, 3-3) a 68-40 thrashing.
The Blue Jackets competed the last several years in Class 3A but with a declining enrollment moved down to Class A. Woodville was a Final Four team in Class AA last year and earlier this season beat SHS, 69-42. Savannah has won 11 of its last 12 games and is ranked No. 7 in the state going into a game Friday night at Woodville.
Woodville is beating the holdover teams by a margin of 38.6 points per game and Savannah is beating the same teams by 23 points per game. Bryan County, for that matter, has been beaten its old mates by 27.4 per game but has had trouble matching up with the two newbies.
“Yes, we are playing for a three seed,” Anderson said. “This was to be expected given the teams Woodville and Savannah have.
“I felt like we kind of ran into a buzz saw at Savannah,” Anderson said. “They are playing well and we shot the ball probably the worst we have all year. The good news is we could possibly see them again when it counts for more.
“We’re using this tough non-region schedule to help us prepare for the region tournament and hopefully another state playoff appearance.”
The region tournament will be at Woodville with the two top teams getting byes into the semi-finals. As a third-place team the Redskins would play the last-place team in the opening round and a win would get them in the state playoffs for the second straight year. It would also earn them a shot against either the Wolverines or Blue Jackets.
“If we get in the state playoffs even as a third seed we won’t play anyone any better than Woodville or Savannah High,” Anderson said. “Savannah is really playing well. They’re big, quick and look like the old Savannah High teams.”
The Redskins jumped out to an early 9-3 lead against the Blue Jackets and then in an indication of what was to come went cold from the field. Savannah scored 19 straight points before Devontae Bowers hit an inside jumper with 3:46 left in the half to make it a 22-11 game.
Savannah led 33-17 at the half and pushed it to 46-22 with 1:58 left in the third before Bryan County rallied to trim it to 46-32 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
The Redskins then missed their next 10 shots from the field, a pair of free throws and turned it over four times which was simply too much to overcome against a young but talented Blue Jackets team.
Jamal Campbell led Bryan County with 10 points and Jordan Mincey had eight. Maki Joyner, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, had 23 for Savannah which saw sophomores score 45 of its points.