It may not have been a work of art, but it looked just fine to Jason Keeler.
The South Effingham boys basketball coach isn’t giving back his team’s 49-39 win Saturday afternoon over Bryan County.
“People like to say there are ugly wins. I subscribe to the theory they are just wins,” he said.
The Mustangs, hours after an overtime loss to Richmond Hill, led the Redskins 41-20 going into the fourth quarter and appeared to have the game well in hand. Though Bryan County never got the lead under 10 points, they made life uneasy down the stretch.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt we had heavy legs,” Keeler said. “There’s no question.”
The Mustangs (3-4) scored the first six points of the game but Bryan County clung close. South Effingham took a 28-16 lead into halftime and widened the gap throughout the third quarter.
“The good news is, as many mistakes as we made, we executed some things well,” Keeler said. “We did some good things defensively. I was real proud of Brandon English.”
Though English did not score, he logged valuable minutes and was a presence in the paint. Eddie Harris had 12 of his team-high 14 points in the second half. Alex Fisher had 11 points, Alex Reid had eight, Jaron Mullins scored seven, Zach Anderson had six and Jamaal Bynes had three points.
Fisher also controlled the boards during his stints on the floor, and his coach thinks his freshman pivot can only get better.
“Alex is one of those guys who has a pretty good instinct of rebounding,” Keeler said. “He’s got to learn how to use his body and create space. He’s relying too much on his size.”
Bryan County’s Winston Johnson had 14 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Redskins narrowed the gap but never seriously threatened.
“As much as we could do things differently, I am not displeased with the result,” Keeler said. “I was not entirely happy with the effort all the time, but the result is what matters.”
It was also important that the Mustangs got a win after Tuesday’s narrow loss to rival Effingham and Friday night’s rally and eventual overtime setback.
“It’s a win, and we need that more than anything,” Keeler said. “It validates all their hard work.”