By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON – Shi’Asia House sank a 3-pointer, Zakerria Hall followed up a missed shot for a bucket and Laney Dobbs and Kay’mar Griffin hit threes to begin a predictable ambush.
Less than four minutes into their game with rival Effingham County on Friday night, the South Effingham girls had built a double-digit lead en route to a 64-25 win.
The four Mustangs who opened the scoring were seniors. ECHS has just two seniors on its roster.
It makes a difference. While the Rebels are trying to build a foundation for their program, SEHS is reaching for its ceiling.
Last year, South won 10 games. Friday’s win equaled that mark and Saturday night the Mustangs added an 11th by defeating Grovetown 52-49.
“The 10 wins was a huge thing,” SEHS coach Alexus Parker said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get it sooner, but it’s the first in the region so we’re excited.”
Griffin finished with 22 points, House added 17 and Dobbs had 12 points.
South (11-4, 2-0 Region 2-6A) led 29-7 in the second quarter, but ECHS answered with an encouraging 10-4 spurt to end the half.
“The first half was one of the worst halves we’ve played, but going into halftime we had some positivity even though we were down 16,” Rebels first-year coach Kyle Hurley said. “We knew (the Mustangs) could outrebound us and we had to box out but we didn’t do a good job. We turned the ball over. But we hit some shots to feel a little better going into the lockerroom.”
Parker didn’t want the Rebels to get too comfortable and dialed up a full-court press for part of the second half. A 28-4 run ensued.
“I told (my players) this is not the Effingham you’re used to so don’t underestimate anyone,” Parker said.
“They’re young so they make young (players’) mistakes but they’re going to play hard. Any night can be their night, or our night. … No matter what their record says, make sure you show up to play.”
Parker understands the process. She took over a team filled with sophomores who won only seven games two years ago.
ECHS’ record slipped to 2-11, but Hurley is already highlighting the second-quarter run.
Sophomore Kyjana Jordan, who scored the team’s first 11 points, led the Rebels with 13 points.
“Their press threw us off and we didn’t have an answer for it,” Hurley said. “I tell the girls, don’t worry about the record. We know we can turn those (losses) around at some point. Just work on getting better. I see it at times, then it disappears at times. I think that’s all part of being a young team.”