They’ve been getting better and better, and putting it all together.Lady Rebels coach Patrick McClure
GUYTON — Effingham County’s basketball teams swept rival South Effingham in a pair of non-region contests Saturday.
The Lady Rebels won in convincing fashion 53-39, breaking a 14-game losing streak.
De’ja House led all scorers with 20 points. The senior was electric from start to finish and provided a much-needed offensive spark.
“Today, De’ja, mentally, was as tough as I’ve ever seen her,” Lady Rebels head coach Patrick McClure said. “She was calm and played hard the whole game. She gave us energy and some scoring when we needed it.
“She got a few offensive rebounds in the first half. The second half (she was) driving to the basket and getting layups.”
Cat Hall pushed the pace, too. She forced several turnovers, mainly in the first half, that keyed Effingham County’s strong start.
“We are learning to play four quarters, but she gives all she has,” McClure said. “She’s definitely a big leader and hustles all the time. Her conditioning is unbelievable.”
Effingham County has struggled to put together complete games, losing a few battles in the fourth quarter. McClure has been stressing the importance of going the distance until the clock strikes zero.
“We’ve been talking about playing four quarters and not letting stuff overtake us mentally because that is our biggest struggle,” he said. “They’ve been getting better and better, and putting it all together. I let them know at halftime we were in the same position last time (when we lost to South Effingham on Dec. 15). We talked about it and came out and responded. We had a nice run and kept the lead.”
Considering the schools’ proximity and their familiarity of the players on both teams, the win was extra special.
“I coached at South for five years,” McClure said. “This is big for me too.”
The Rebels are still getting settled into McClure’s preferred style of play. As they continue to adjust to his scheme, McClure is hopeful his squad will maintain the same excitement and energy throughout the rest of the regular season.
“It’s a new system,” he said. “The girls are trying. They are not giving up. They are playing hard. We have been improving. It hasn’t been showing on the scoreboard because we’ve had a tough schedule. As long as we keep doing that, I think we will be playing our best basketball in February.”
In the boys game, the Rebels prevailed 61-33. Effingham County did not allow more than nine points in a quarter and led 39-15 at the break. Freshman Tyler Griffin led the way with 13 points.
“Tonight’s win was a team effort,” Rebels head coach Jacob Darling said. “Our scoring was balanced, and everyone got a chance to play. We are going to use this win to as a confidence builder for the next stretch of home games.”