Effingham County High School

13 is perfect for Rebels

ECHS finishes region slate with 13-0 mark

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February 6, 2016

By Patrick Donahue

Even the Effingham County boys basketball Final Four team of three years ago didn’t accomplish what the Rebels did Friday night. Behind a dominating 77-44 win over in-county rival South Effingham, the No. 9-ranked Rebels completed a perfect Region 3-AAAAA schedule at 13-0. The Rebels, 21-3 overall, are guaranteed a spot in the Class AAAAA state playoffs and won’t play again until the region tournament semifinals Thursday at Camden County. “Tonight, it’s great. But when I wake up in the morning, it’ll be we have two more games to win to get a region championship, said Rebels coach Jake Darling. “It puts us in a great situation. The guys love it to go undefeated. If anything it builds our morale and keeps us going and keeps us motivated. Effingham led just 13-9 late in the first quarter before a flurry of 3-point shots and three-point plays blew the game open. DeShaun Wilkenson buried a 30-footer as the first period ended. Rashad Griffin turned a layup to start the second quarter into a three-point, Jaden Rodriguez connected on a long 3, the Wilkenson converted a steal into a three-point play, Griffin’s cut to the basket led to a layup and a free throw and Griffin buried a 3 on Wilkenson’s kick-out pass. By the time the smoke from the barrage cleared, Effingham held a commanding 38-11 lead. “They really did a good job executing their game plan tonight, said Mustangs coach Jim Finlen. “Their quickness, you really to have the ball well and unfortunately, we didn’t move the ball like we’re capable of. Give them a lot of credit — they’re a very, very good team, obviously. They’re undefeated in the region. Wilkenson reeled off nine straight points in the third for the Rebels, his mammoth dunk off a Griffin pass highlighting the outburst. Glenn Steele later connected on a 3 for the Mustangs and drew a foul, but he was whistled for a technical foul, and Derrick Newberry also was given two quick technicals in the aftermath. Liam Lanaghan knocked down all six free throws for a 64-29 lead. Steele had 12 points to lead the Mustangs, 7-17 overall and 2-11 in the region. Ten different Rebels scored, with Wilkenson’s 21 leading the way. Rodriguez added 14, Lanaghan finished with 12 and Griffin had 11 points. Though the Rebels have secured at least one state playoff game, Darling said his team doesn’t want to stop here. “We still have a lot to prove, he said. “We still have games we want to win. For more, see Wednesday’s Herald.

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