By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
PEMBROKE — The South Effingham boys found some success at Bryan County High School on Saturday night. It was right under the basket.
Juniors Rakeam Williams and Kahmari Bacon controlled the glass, and the Mustangs entered the holiday break on a jolly note after defeating the Redskins 61-50 and snapping an eight-game losing streak.
“We had size on them so we were able to get to the boards,” SEHS coach Rico Campbell said. “Every week, we’re trying to improve on certain things. We’re just trying to get better for January.”
The Mustangs (2-10) have five losses by four points or fewer this season, but a 101-33 setback to highly regarded Statesboro on Dec. 14 stung. SEHS struggled against the Blue Devils’ half-court trap defense and was manhandled on the boards.
“The Statesboro game was very demoralizing, but we flushed that away,” Campbell said. “They’re an impressive team and we’re going to see them again. We have to man up.”
With 6-foot-2 Williams and 6-1 Bacon contesting balls in the paint, the Mustangs found some answers against Bryan County.
Williams had 11 of his team-high 16 points in the second half and Bacon had all eight of his points after intermission.
SEHS had a 17-point, third-quarter lead (44-27) sliced to nine (54-45) with 2:42 left, but Williams muscled inside for a layup to stop a Redskin 6-0 run and boost the Mustangs back to a double-digit advantage.
SEHS will not play in any holiday tournaments. The Mustangs return to action Jan. 7 at home against Brunswick.
“We’ll take the time off to work on the little things we can fix. We still have nine region games to go,” Campbell said.
SEHS girls equal 2020-21 win total
South Effingham’s girls won their seventh game of the season with a 44-23 victory over Southeast Bulloch on Dec. 11, but fell just short in looking for victory No. 8 last week.
Despite playing without injured starter Paris Kelley, the much-improved Mustangs led defending Region 2-AAAAAA champion Statesboro (11-0 this season) in the fourth quarter before falling 50-40 on Dec. 14.
Saturday, SEHS struggled offensively and surrendered another fourth-quarter lead during a 36-34 loss to Bryan County.
Junior Zakerria Hall had a team-high 13 points against the Redskins. Laney Dobbs had 11 against Statesboro.
ECHS boys squeak past Brunswick
Caleb Williams hit two crucial free throws in the final minute to lead Effingham County to a 64-62 win over Brunswick on Dec. 14.
Williams finished with 13 points. Khiry Wallace led the Rebels with 14.
The Rebels (4-6, 2-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) will be in action over the holiday break at the Big Blue Classic, hosted by Model High School in Rome.
ECHS will play Central (Carrollton) on Dec. 28, Wilson Academy on Dec. 29 and Model on Dec. 30.
ECHS girls get second victory
The Effingham County girls equaled their win total of last season by topping May River 45-34 on Dec. 11.
The 45 points were a season-high for the Rebels, who raised their record to 2-6. They were 2-17 last season.
ECHS lost to Brunswick 74-19 on Dec. 14, but played competitively despite falling to Bryan County 45-41 the next night.
The girls will not play in a holiday tournament. They’ll be back in action Jan. 4 on the road against Glynn Academy.