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Lady Mustangs control their destiny
Melanie Zeigler
The Lady Mustangs’ Cianna Trenary (3) ducks after dishing the ball to Melanie Zeigler during Saturday’s home game against Islands. South Effingham got off to a hot start and rolled to a 69-51 win. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

GUYTON — With just four games left in the regular season, the South Effingham girls basketball team has every reason to be excited about the Region 2-AAAAA tournament.

The squad, 11-10 heading into Tuesday’s game at New Hampstead, has already surpassed its win total from last year. And aside from that, it control their own destiny regarding postseason play. The last two years, South Effingham was on the outside looking in, having to settle for the play in game to secure the coveted fourth place finish in the league. This season however, the Lady Mustangs are third in the region as of this past weekend.

Statesboro sits atop the region undefeated and Wayne County follows with just one loss.

"In the last two years we've split with New Hampstead," Lady Mustangs head coach Jenifer Hall said. "We definitely want to be at least fourth so we can go to the region tournament. We've got to play New Hampstead and Ware again so, hopefully, we will get two wins there."

The Georgia High School Association has released the playoff brackets for boys and girls basketball and the Lady Mustangs are on track to match up against team two from 4-AAAAA.

Hall likes the idea of being paired against a No. 2 seed. Woodlands is currently in second place but that could change as Jones County has just two losses. 

The Greyhounds are 17-3 overall while Woodlands is 13-6. 

Although the Greyhounds have lost just a handful of games, they are averaging 44 points a game, while Woodlands is just ahead at 48. And with South Effingham averaging 44 points as well, it could turn out to be a game that comes down to the wire no matter which team they play.

It's been junior Melanie Zeigler who has shined for South Effingham, scoring more than 200 points this season. Although not very vocal, she leads by example, shooting 60 percent from the field. And she's second behind Destinee Owens in rebounds with 151.

"She's taken on more leadership," Hall said. "She's a silent leader. She leads more by example.

“She definitely has concentrated more on improving her game over the last year. You tell her something and she nods and says, ‘yes, ma’am. I have been impressed with how she has played this year, especially as a junior."

Zeigler and Owens each score 10 points a game along with 10 rebounds.

Hall said she is looking for a couple of her other key players to break into double figures. 

"We are looking to Owens and Ziegler to give us 10 points and 10 rebounds apiece," Hall said. "We hope Cianna Trenary will come in and handle the ball well and give us six to eight points per game. We’ve got Kay’mar Griffin, who is a freshman, and she’s been a high scorer in the last couple games. She handles the ball well and sees the floor well for a freshman.

“This is our year for our post people. They have done a tremendous job. If we can get our two big girls to score in double digits in rebounds and points, we will be successful.”