Bailey Harris has front seat to state final matchup of ex-players.
Bailey Harris won 637 games and 2 state boys' basketball titles as Lexington High School head coach.
Yet Friday's Class 5A final at Colonial Life Arena between 3-time defending champion Dorman and Dutch Fork will have even more meaning. The contest will pit 4 of Harris' former players - Dorman head coach Thomas Ryan and assistant Zach Richardson and Dutch Fork's Brett Jones and assistant Jason Cochcraft - against each other.
"It's definitely a highlight, no doubt about it," Harris said.
Seeing his former players in such a setting is something Harris has wished for 24 years. Following Cochcroft and Ryan's graduation, Harris won his 1st state title in 1996 with Jones as an assistant.
Ironically, Ryan served as an assistant coach under Jones at White Knoll before taking head coaching jobs at Aiken and now Dorman.
Ryan looks to lead the Cavaliers to a 4th consecutive title. Only Calhoun County (2006-9) has accomplished this feat in the last 96 years of the S.C. High School League.
Meanwhile, Jones looks to lead the Silver Foxes to their 1st ever title and win the 4th championship for the school in the past year. The baseball team won last May and the football team, ironically, defeated Dorman in overtime to claim its 4th straight title.
Win or lose, Harris will get to present both head coaches the commemorative game balls following the final. Tipoff for the game is 8:30 pm.
The other state final contest involving a Chronicle Country team takes place at 6:30 pm between 2-time defending Class 2A champion Gray Collegiate and Whale Branch. The War Eagles seek to become the 9th SCHSL school to win 3 straight titles.
Friday's game will air live on WACH 57 (Channel 6 on Spectrum Cable). All of Saturday's "Weekend of Champions" games will air on Spectrum Cable (Channel 1250) or streamed at www.wach.com .