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Skins basketball off to a successful start
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The Bryan County High School baseball and softball teams are to benefit from the Mikell Foxworth Memorial Golf Outing.

PEMBROKE -- Starting the basketball season 3-2 doesn’t sound like a big deal. Unless you’re Bryan County High School.

Thanks to double digit wins over Georgia Military College and East Laurens last week in the Screven County Gamecocks Tip-Off tournament the Redskins find themselves above .500 for the first time in six years as they head into what Coach Brent Anderson termed “a big week.

Not since Bryan County started the 2015-16 season 4-0 have the Redskins being in a situation where they were winning more games than they had lost. Then coach Randy Cooper’s team finished the season 12-15 and it’s been a struggle ever since.

After opening with an easy 68-48 win—their biggest lead was 30 points in the third quarter--Bryan County lost to Groves and South Effingham before bouncing back to pick up the wins over GMC (61-48) and East Laurens (61-44).

The Redskins will have an opportunity to match last year’s win total this week as they head into Region 3-A play. Bryan County plays at Screven County on Tuesday and is home with games Friday and Saturday against Jenkins County and Southeast Bulloch, respectively.

Coach Mario Mincey’s girls’ team, coming off a rare COVID-19 impacted losing season, is also off to a good start at 3-1. Like the boys they also beat GMC and East Laurens.

After knocking off East Laurens the boys got the rest of the week off to, as Anderson put it, to recharge and enjoy Thanksgiving before returning to the grind.

“We came out and played two very good games,” Anderson said. “We’re playing extremely hard on the defensive end.”

The losses to Groves (76-51) and South Effingham (67-50), the fifth-year coach said, were nothing to be discouraged about.

“Groves is a very talented team,” Anderson said. “I think they will compete for their region (3-AAA) championship. I really wanted to see early in the year if we were ready to compete at a high level. It was a great game until late in the fourth quarter when they pulled away.”

The next night against Class 6A South Effingham the Redskins ran out of gas late against a Mustangs team getting its first win after a pair of two-point losses.

“I felt like we were a little tired going back-to-back this early in the season,” Anderson said. “Every time we cut it to 4-6 points, they would stretch it back out. I’m really proud of what I’ve seen this early in the season. We still need to get into regular season shape.”

Mincey finally got a game on which he may to be able to get a gauge on his team in its 43-35 win over East Laurens which was 16-3 last year and is expected to once again compete for the Region 2-AA championship.

Blowout wins over Groves (50-18) and GMC (61-18) sandwiched around a 54-40 loss at South Effingham left him still moving around parts of the puzzle.

“Our freshmen played well against Groves,” Mincey said, “but then they played like freshmen against South Effingham which is a good, solid team. We had early foul trouble and that didn’t help either.”

Mincey said he was pleased with the early season play of seniors Niyah Shuman and Anderia Jackson along with junior Kenzie Stucker as they lead a team with nine freshmen.

“I like our younger kids,” Mincey said. “They’re getting minutes and not shying away. I learned more about them in the loss to South Effingham than in the wins.”

“We don’t shy away from playing strong competition. You get a chance to see how your kids handle adversity. So far, the ninth-graders are holding it together. Going to Screven we’re still looking at different combinations.”

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