By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
SPRINGFIELD – For Effingham County’s boys, a good month of results was made even better by a great week.
The Rebels (12-7, 6-2 Region 2-AAAAAA) continued their long winning streak over rival South Effingham 86-58 on Friday night.
Three nights earlier, ECHS won in Statesboro for the first time in six years with a 59-55 overtime victory over the sixth-ranked Blue Devils.
The Rebels have won nine of their last 10 games with a key set of games against Brunswick on the road Tuesday and at Glynn Academy on Friday.
“Beating Statesboro in Statesboro is difficult in any year so it was a huge moral victory for us and I think it carried over in our rivalry game against South Effingham,” ECHS coach Jake Darling said.
The Rebels, who upped their winning streak to 30 games against SEHS dating back to Jan. 6, 2007, led only 30-28 with 1:26 to go in the first half before scoring the final seven points before intermission and starting the third quarter on an 18-4 run.
In less than seven minutes, ECHS’ two-point lead ballooned to 23, 55-32.
The Rebels’ 86 points were the most by the team since registering 94 in a 94-82 win over Bluffton on Dec. 18, 2017.
“It’s good that the streak is still going after playing them twice this year and now it won’t come up until next year,” said Darling, who tries to downplay his squad’s domination of the series.
Khiry Wallace had nine of his team-high 19 points in the third quarter to lead the Rebels. Keion Wallace had 14 points and Rashad Scott added 10.
Andrew Butler led SEHS with a game-high 28 points. During a 14-minute span in the second and third quarters, the senior shooting guard scored 20 straight Mustang points.
ECHS, however, has multiple weapons to beat opponents, evident in the overtime win over Statesboro.
Scott, who often provides instant offense off the bench, scored eight points in the three-minute overtime period after the Rebels saw Statesboro come back from a five-point deficit in the final minute of regulation.
“It was a learning lesson for us to be on the road in a big game like that with a lead,” Darling said. “Our experience should have taken over. We have to learn to execute in those situations.”
But the next best thing happened for ECHS – regrouping to overcome the demoralizing final minute of regulation.
And after Bradwell Institute stunned Statesboro in double overtime on Friday night, the Rebels and Blue Devils now sit atop of the region with 6-2 records (although SHS holds an advantage because of the point differential in games between the two teams).
The team finishing in first place during the regular season will host the region tournament.
“This week gives us confidence moving forward,” Darling said. “Now we have to win out and have someone beat Statesboro.”
SEHS (2-16, 0-8) continued its struggles during the week, first falling to Richmond Hill 73-65 despite Butler’s 26 points on Jan 18.
The Mustangs trailed by two (35-33) at halftime. They lost to the Wildcats by three, 69-66, in their first meeting.
South has lost six games by four points or less.