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Blazers win by 2, tie FPCA for No. 1
Highlander AJ Ansley, No. 12, and his counterpart representing the Bethesda Blazers jump for the ball to open Tuesday’s battle in Savannah. The Blazers edged out a 57-55 win - photo by Photo by Joel Osteen

The Bethesda Blazers and First Presbyterian Christian Academy have traded region wins on several occasions and even a few region titles, but for the past two seasons the Highlanders have denied the Blazers the state title.

The fight is on again. FPCA beat the Blazers 64-56 at home on Jan. 23, but on Tuesday night the Blazers eked out a 57-55 win over the visiting Hinesville boys.

Bethesda’s most recent victory has the rival private schools tied at first in the Georgia Independent School Association’s Region 2-A. The fan rivalry has been reignited and the schools likely will meet again at the region tournament and, perhaps, the state title game.

The Blazers and Highlanders were tied at 29 at intermission and although the squads traded baskets, Bethesda squeezed out a win because of what Highlander coach David Jones called FPCA’s individual performance instead of team play.

"We’ve got to regroup and play much better than we did or we’ll be one round and out," he said.

Jones said it was the first time since he became the Highlanders coach he had a communication breakdown with his players.

"There was a failure in communication more than any game thus far," he said. "We couldn’t get on the same page with what we were trying to do defensively nor offensively. We didn’t run any team offense. We were never in the team concept of basketball."

Jones said they were careless with the ball and he plans to discuss the philosophy of "team ball vs. individual ball" with his players.

The Highlanders are set to play at Georgia Christian tonight and they’ll prepare for the region tournament next week.

If Bethesda and FPCA are still tied for first next week, the region tournament seeding will likely be decided by a coin toss. If both schools keep up their winning ways, they’ll battle it out for the region championship sometime next week at South Georgia College.

"We will regroup and we shall return," Jones said.

The Courier will post the region schedule when it’s determined.

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