#2 DEFEATS #1! Irmo boys defeat AC Flora in matchup of top teams in Class 4A
Bragging rights among the top 2 teams in Class 4A was not the only thing at stake Monday night in Columbia.
Top-ranked and undefeated AC Flora looked to sweep the regular-season series against 2nd ranked Irmo. A win would solidify its hold of 1st place in Region 4-4A with 3 games remaining, 2 against Lugoff-Elgin and 1 against crosstown rival Dreher.
The visiting, 2nd ranked Yellow Jackets had region title aspirations as well as thoughts of payback following a 51-45 home loss. Withstanding a 33-point effort from All-State senior guard and Wake Forest signee Robert McCray, Irmo held on for the 52-48 win over AC Flora.
Dylan Williams had 14 points and Juice Kiett and Devin Guinyard each had 13 points to lead the Yellow Jackets. Both Keitt and Guinyard had key baskets down the stretch to hold off a late rally by the Falcons.
Guinyard had 3, 3-pointers in the 1st half as Irmo led 13-11 at the end of the 1st quarter. A 7-0 run in which McCray accounted for 5 points gave AC Flora a 20-15 lead in the 2nd quarter.
Irmo responded with 5 straight points on a 3-pointer by Guinyard and layup by Kiett to tie the game. The Falcons reclaimed the lead before halftime at 24-21.
Following a timeout, AC Flora scored 6 unanswered points to take a 30-23 lead. They were held scoreless the rest of the 3rd quarter as the Yellow Jackets embarked on a 15-run which stretched into the 4th quarter.
Down 38-30, the Falcons rallied back behind McCray to get within 39-38. Irmo answered with a free throw and putback by Kiett and layup by Williams to go up 44-38 with 2:11 left.
McCray hit 3 free throws to bring AC Flora to within 44-41 with 1:27 left. After the 2 teams exchanged free throws, Kiett converted a 3-point play with 1:16 left to extend Irmo’s lead to 48-42.
A 3-pointer by McCray brought AC Flora to within 48-45 with 1 minute left. Keitt made 2 free throws on Irmo’s next possession and the Falcons made 3-5 from the line to close the gap to 50-48 with 12 seconds left.
Guinyard’s 2 free throws with 6 seconds left sealed the victory for Irmo (10-5, 7-1), who close out the regular season with 2 games this week against Dreher. Game 1 is Wednesday in Columbia, followed by the season-finale on Friday.
“It’s been incredible,” Irmo head coach Tim Whipple said about the regular season. “It’s been an emotional toll on everybody involved - coaches, players, parents. Just going to school, not knowing if you’re going to be face-to-face, whether you’re going to be virtual, it’s hard.
“It’s something I think as adults sometimes we take for granted that young men are going to handle that situation maturely. But that’s not the case. They need the structure of going to school every day and having a situation where someone is helping them with that structure. They’re teen-agers. It’s been a tough situation, but our guys have handled it well.”