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Slow start dooms Mustangs
South Effingham's Ross Freeman (12) defends Lake Nona's Nicholas Cross on Friday in the Monterrey Christmas Tournament in Evans.

EVANS -- There often is no happy medium for the South Effingham Mustangs. Sizzling starts and fizzling finishes -- or vice versa --have plagued them all season.

South Effingham outplayed Lake Nona (Fla.) for 2 1/2 quarters at Evans High School on Friday but lost 48-36 after a stumbling start in the Monterrey Christmas Tournament game. The Mustangs (2-11), down two starters, fell behind 21-2 to open the contest.

"We started off slow and had to make some adjustments," Mustangs coach James Finlen said. "Once we made the adjustments, we outplayed them. We showed a lot of heart in the second half to come back, but we've got to be ready from the jump."

A bucket by Mackenly Newbill with 2:17 left closed the gap to 43-37. That was as close to the lead as South Effingham could get, however.

The Lions (3-7) clinched the game by sinking five of eight free throws down the stretch.

South Effingham, which lost Thursday's tourney opener against Strom Thurmond (S.C.) 49-46, will play Augusta Prep in Evans at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

See the Jan. 3, 2018, edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.