GUYTON — The South Effingham Lady Mustangs didn’t get what they wanted against Richmond Hill on Saturday but they ended up with a valuable consolation prize.
“I want the ‘W’ but I think we learned a lot tonight,” Lady Mustangs head coach Jenifer Hall said after her team’s 44-38 non-region defeat.
After finding itself in a 10-4 hole at the end of the first period, South Effingham (5-4) played the Lady Wildcats evenly. They cut the gap to four points twice in the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite get over the hump.
After closing to within 34-30 with 4:40 to go, the Lady Mustangs misfired on four throws and came up short on a few second-chance shots. They mixed six threes in the final period.
“I’m proud of the girls,” Hall said. “We had a hard game (Friday night at Islands) and our legs were a little bit tired. Still, I thought they came out and played a good game.”
Richmond Hill came in fresher. It canceled its Friday game because its football team played Allatoona in a Class AAAAAA semifinal.
“They might not have looked like it tonight but Richmond Hill (7-2) is one of the best teams I’ve seen in here,” Hall said.
Melanie Zeigler paced the Lady Mustangs on Saturday with 13 points. Destinee Owens and Cianna Trenary added nine and eight points, respectively.
Against Islands in a 73-52 setback Friday, Trenary tallied a team-high 17 points and Zeigler was close behind with 16.
South Effingham (4-5), riding a three-game winning streak — its longest since 2013 — got off to a stellar start in Saturday’s boys contest, jumping to a 5-1 advantage. The Wildcats (9-0), however, regrouped and seized a 13-8 lead midway through the opening quarter.
The Mustangs reeled off five straight points to force a 13-13 tie. It was at that point that Richmond Hill took complete control.
The Wildcats closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run and led 45-15 at halftime after what developed into a 32-2 spurt.
Taylor Jackson led the Mustangs with 15 points.
In Friday’s convincing 63-43 victory over Islands (1-5), Butler posted 22 points. South Effingham was powered by a 12-0 third-quarter run.
South Effingham, which plays at Long County on Tuesday, will host Southeast Bulloch on Dec. 17 starting at 6 p.m.