GUYTON — The South Effingham boys basketball team dropped Thursday's season opener at Groves 78-52.
Despite the loss, there were quite a few positive takeaways.
Last year, en route to winning just one game, the Mustangs averaged just 40 points. This season, between their Nov. 5 scrimmage against Screven County and the first game, the Mustangs are averaging 55.
Although both games resulted in defeat, South Effingham head coach Jesse Osborne thinks the increase in scoring will produce some victories.
“Last year, we struggled to get shots on the board,” Osborne said. “Being able to press and force turnovers — we are able to get a lot of shots and it’s reflecting on the scoreboard.”
Andrew Butler scored 12 points against Groves. The transfer from Ridgeland saw his game come to life late in the second half.
Butler took advance of sloppy play by Groves and turned errors into needed points. Playing on a gimpy leg, Butler pushed through the pain and continuously pressed Groves’ defense.
“He’s huge for us,” Osborne said. “His athleticism and hustle, we really need it. He knows how to handle the ball, distribute it and get it into their hands.
“He’s able to shoot and score when he wants to. Having him on the floor has been tremendous for us.”
Despite being short-handed because some players are still involved in football, the Mustangs took advantage of a clumsy Rebels squad that struggled with ball control. South Effingham forced nearly a dozen turnovers.
“There’s glimpses of when we are able to do that,” Osborne said. “We are a little shallow on the bench right now. It’s impossible to press like I want to for the length of the game with a short rotation. When we get everyone here, we will be able to press a lot longer.
“We are more athletic this year. We are able to guard the same way people have guarded us. It’s huge ,but having to do that for a long period of time, you get tired.
“It’s early. We are going to get better everyday.”