2019-01-09 / Sports

Burke County begins region play


Tyasia Freeman fights for control, swarmed by Cross Creek defenders. Tyasia Freeman fights for control, swarmed by Cross Creek defenders. The Lady Bears started the new year on the right track, picking up a pair of wins on their home court over the weekend.

On Friday, Jan. 4, the girls defeated Cross Creek 51-45.

“We had a game plan for Cross Creek, and our players were able to execute it,” said head coach Leslie Lawrence, adding that the win was a team effort and every one played their roles. “Brikyia Benjamin and Breanna Bynes did an excellent job defending Cross Creek’s main players. Kianni Westbrook and Tyasia Freeman were able to control the paint with scoring and rebounding. We have been continually working on controlling the tempo of the game and Trinity Wright has continued to lead us in that area.”

Leading the Lady Bears was Westbrook, who had 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 steals, and Freeman, who contributed 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals.

Rod McBride fights for points against Cross Creek. He led the Bears in assists and steals, with 4 and 3 respectively. Rod McBride fights for points against Cross Creek. He led the Bears in assists and steals, with 4 and 3 respectively. Burke County’s girls carried that same momentum into Saturday’s game against ARC, where they came out with a 67-37 win.

The game remained a close one through the first half of play, but the Lady Bears were able to break the game open in the third, outscoring ARC 25-5. Freeman and Westbrook again led their team to victory, scoring 22 and 11 points, respectively.

Lawrence said that yesterday’s game against Baldwin in Milledgeville would be a critical region game for the girls. “We are ready to enter this portion of our season,” she said. “Baldwin will be another test for us at their place. However, we believe that our preseason schedule prepared us for what is in front of us. Our players have responded well and they understand and accept the challenge the remainder of the season brings forth.”

Results from Tuesday’s game were not available at press time.

On the boys end, they picked up a win and a loss, defeating Cross Creek in their first region victory, 64-53, and losing to ARC 69-50.

“We played well coming off the Christmas tourney in Atlanta,” head coach Purvis Dukes said in reference to Friday’s game against Cross Creek, while adding that the boys came out flat on Saturday, allowing ARC to jump to a 10-point lead in the first quarter that the Bears were never able to recover from. “We felt like it was the tale of two nights. Offensively, we didn’t shoot the ball very well from the perimeter which allowed them to pack it in against us some and we struggled. Defensively, they were patient on offense, and they were able to get some open looks at the basket and they converted. In this league, you have to be ready each night or you will get beat. The guys will bounce back as those types of games definitely wake us all up.”

Leading the Bears’ victory against Cross Creek were senior Jahleel Roundtree, who had 16 points, senior Devin Wilson, who had 14, and sophomore Bobby Little, who contributed 10. They were 18/23 from the foul line. Dukes said they particularly shot well from the charity stripe the second half, going 13/15, with two players shooting 100 percent. Junior Rod McBride was 6/6, and Roundtree shot 4/4. Roundtree also had 12 boards and 3 blocks, followed by senior Tyreek Brihm with 9 boards. McBride also had 4 assists and 3 steals.

On Saturday, Roundtree led again with 17 points, followed by Little, who had 16, and junior Dexter Jones, who had 11.

The Bears were 1/2 from the foul line, “which is a huge indicator that we didn’t attack the basket and settled for the first shots,” Dukes said.

They also played Baldwin on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.

On Friday, Jan. 11, both teams play Thomson High School in Thomson, beginning at 7 p.m. They’ll host Butler on Saturday, Jan. 12, with game time at 5 p.m. On Tuesday, Jan. 15, Burke County will play Laney in Augusta at 5 p.m.

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