TUESDAY NIGHT HOOPS Panthers nipped at home 65-64 by Rebels
It was the most anticipated boys' basketball game at Pelion High School in recent memory.
Playing before Neon-garbed, enthusiastic home fans, the Panthers looked to defeat Region 5-3A front-runner Strom Thurmond and earn a share of first place. A victory would also tie a school record for wins in a season.
Despite rallying twice from double digits and a game-high 23 points from Travon Alston and 16 from Malcolm Davis, Pelion fell a point short 65-64 to the Rebels. The loss dropped the Panthers (14-10, 4-3) into third place entering Friday's regular-season finale at Gilbert.
The Panthers trailed 17-13 at the end of the first quarter. A 9-2 run gave them a 22-19 lead, only for the Rebels to respond with 13 unanswered points to regain the lead.
Pelion managed to cut the defict to 31-25 at halftime. In the third quarter, Strom Thurmond stretched its biggest lead to 11 points, only for Pelion to use a 9-0 run to get within 42-40 with less than 2 minutes left in the period.
Trailing 46-43 entering the fourth quarter, the Panther scored 6 straight to claim the lead. The two teams exchanged the lead 3 more times before back-to-back 3 pointers by Robert Whitt put Strom Thurmond ahead to stay at 59-55.
Whitt finished with a team-high 18 points.
Pelion closed the gap to within 3 points twice before Jamarvius Jones, who finished with 12 points, and Jikael Brown combined to score the Rebels' last 6 points from the foul line.
Both teams missed 10 free throws, with Strom Thurmond shooting 12-22 compared to 8-18 by the Panthers.
The game ended with a 3-pointer from halfcourt by Alston.
"The press wore on us and we had a couple of bad stretches with it," Pelion head coach David Smith said. "Overall, we attacked it a lot better than last time. Very proud of my kids, will go to battle with my group anytime. Great high school atmosphere. What a performance by fans and student section. Now we've got to get ready for a tough Gilbert bunch on Thursday."
Senior Jeremiah Green had 13 points in his final home game on Seniors Night.
Lexington 61, Chapin 37
For the first time in 6 years, the undefeated, 3rd-ranked Wildcats can call themselves region champions.
With 1 more win Thursday at River Bluff, they can earn the distinction as the first-ever undefeated team in school history.
Fresh off hitting the game-winning layup against Dutch Fork, Mason Carver led Lexington with 14 points. Both Bradley Foulks and Jonathan Corley added 12 and Will Edwards finished with 9 for the Wildcats (25-0, 9-0).
Chapin finishes the regular season 8-16 overall, 1-7 in the region. It needs a White Knoll loss to Dutch Fork to have a shot at the fourth playoff position out of Region 5-5A.
Irmo 54, Dutch Fork 38
Bostun River and C.J. Washington each scored 13 points and Dylan Williams added 12 as the Yellow Jackets (16-9, 4-3) upended their in-town rival.
Dutch Fork (14-10, 4-3) closes out the regular season Thursday at White Knoll, needing a win to secure second place in Region 5-5A.
Irmo travels to Sumter Friday, needing to win to insure finishing no lower than 3rd place in Region 4-5A.
Gray Collegiate 76, Calhoun County 58
Four players scored in double figures for the top-ranked War Eagles, who clinched the Region 3-2A title along with the girls' team.
Tommy Bruner scored 20 points, followed by Jalen Deloach with 13, and Khalil and Jalil Robins with 11 and 10, respectively.
Gray Collegiate (14-10, 7-0) closes out the regular season Friday against Eau Claire at Allen University.
South Aiken 58, Airport 43
Jeremiah Harris scored 14 points and senior Jalen Canada added 11 for the Eagles (3-22, 0-9).
They close out the season Friday at home against archrival Brookland-Cayce.
Northside Christian 56, Carolina Academy 53
Jeb Resier scored 16 points and Trey Toney added 10 as the Crusaders remained in second place in their Class 2A region with a 5-2 mark.
Lexington 58, Chapin 27
For the second time in 3 seasons under head coach Molly Goodrich, the 8th ranked Lady Wildcats have won 19 games.
Olivia Thompson scored 16 points to surpass the 1,800 career point total. She now has accounted for 1,810 in her career. Fellow senior Hannah Kumiyama contributed 12 points for the Lady Wildcats.
Lexington (19-4, 6-1) needs a win Thursday at winless River Bluff to either claim a share of the Region 5-5A title with Dutch Fork and force a one-game playoff Friday at River Bluff to determine the top seed for the Class 5A playoffs or win outright with a Lady Silver Foxes' loss to White Knoll.
Despite the loss, Chapin (7-12, 3-5) earned the 4th playoff seed for the Class 5A playoffs.
Irmo 43, Dutch Fork 23
Jayla Lovett scored 12 points for the Lady Yellow Jackets (14-10, 3-4).
Irmo closes out the regular season Friday at Sumter, while Dutch Fork (12-8, 6-1) needs a win Thursday at White Knoll to either claim a share of the Region 5-5A title with Lexington and force a one-game playoff Friday at River Bluff to determine the top seed for the Class 5A playoffs or win outright with a Lady Wildcats' loss to the winless Lady Gators.
Gray Collegiate 58, Calhoun County 49
The 7th ranked Lady War Eagles clinched the Region 3-2A title and improved to 18-6 overall on Tuesday.
White Knoll 39, River Bluff 24
Jalissa Squirewell scored 12 points and Jasmine Jenkins added 8 as the Lady Timberwolves clinched 3rd place in Region 5-5A on Tuesday.
Dori Heldreth scored 12 points for the winless Lady Gators (0-21, 0-7), who dropped their 30th consecutive game.
White Knoll plays host to Dutch Fork Thursday to end the regular season.
South Aiken 50, Airport 32
Caliegh Corbitt scored 13 points and Jayla Jamison added 9 in the loss.
The Lady Eagles face archrival Brookland-Cayce on Friday.
Strom Thurmond 50, Pelion 35
Whitney Craft scored 11 points for the Lady Panthers in the loss.
Gilbert 57, Edisto 42
Kentaria Hendrix scored 17 points, Chastity Dent had 14 and Madison Pride added 11 for the Lady Indians.