The Portal Panthers will take on the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets at home on Friday night. This is a non-region game, but this is the first match-up for the year from two teams in Bulloch County.
Southeast Bulloch is a very young team this year. Not only are the Yellow Jackets young in age, but they are also young in experience. They are filled with mostly freshmen and sophomores and with flag football season still in full swing, the Lady Yellow Jackets are missing some key senior players at this early stage in the season. Head coach John Roddie is encouraged by the potential for growth of his young team.
“We’re worried about us just trying to get ourselves better,” said Roddie.
Friday night’s game will be the Lady Panthers' fourth game of the season. So far, they are 1-2 on the season. Last season, the Lady Panthers struggled going 3-20 on the season and finishing last in their region. They had no region wins last year and head coach, Nicole Newton, expects a lot to change for the Panthers this season.
“I expect a big turnaround, a 180 degree turnaround this year, so be on the lookout for Portal,” said Newton.
Overall, the Yellow Jackets are 3-2 on the season so far. They have lost some tough matches and won some close games as well. SEB is playing a lot of new guys in new roles this year, so this time right now is all about the Yellow Jackets learning to gel and trying to peak at the right time. Preparing for the game Friday night, head coach Tony Raymond knows that it’s all mental for his boys.
“We just gotta stay stronger and know that we’re going there tomorrow against Portal and it’s going to be a crazy and hectic crowd,” said Raymond. “We just gotta play Southeast Bulloch basketball and not play with the Portal crowd and the Portal fans.”
The Portal Panthers boys varsity team is coming off a great season last year. Overall, they went 28-2 and 11-0 in the region. The Panthers are looking to sweep this year and win their fourth region championship in a row. They have only had a week of practice and have been focusing mostly on shooting and the fundamentals to get back into competitive shape. Another goal for the Panthers is to win state. In past seasons they have gotten close, but haven’t been able to make it over that hump. The Panthers are a mostly young team with four seniors and the majority of the rest are freshmen. With the seniors this year, they have made huge contributions to the team and with their leadership, head coach Jeff Brannen knows his team will go far.
“We’ve got a good core of seniors and they’ve played a lot of basketball, but we have to be patient because the rest are freshmen,” said Brennen. “It’s either seniors or freshmen so the freshmen are going to go through some growing pains, and the chemistry is going to take a little while to develop.”
Tickets for Friday night’s Portal vs SEB basketball games will only be available via the GoFan website. The Grice Connect Sports team will keep you updated on the scores of both games on our website through ScoreStream.