Handful of teams remain in contention after opening week of basketball playoffs

Posted 2/20/24

The high school basketball playoffs began last week, but it was a tough week for Chronicle Country with all but four teams surviving.

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Handful of teams remain in contention after opening week of basketball playoffs


The high school basketball playoffs began last week with many teams from around Lexington County looking to make a deep run at a state title. 

It was a tough week for Chronicle Country with only four teams surviving into the second week of action. 

The Lexington, Northside Christian and Gray Collegiate boys basketball teams all defeated their opponents to advance in their class bracket. The Gray Collegiate girls are the final girls team remaining in the playoffs after a pair of high-seeded 5A teams lost on their home courts. 

The four remaining teams all earned commanding wins. All four will play its next game early this week. 

The Lexington boys defeated Goose Creek 64-38 in round one of the 5A playoff and beat West Ashley 91-48 in round two. Northside Christian began its SCISA 3A quest Saturday with a 72-50 win over Carolina Academy. 

Both Gray Collegiate teams are off to strong starts. The girls earned a 54-point win in round one and a 45-point win in round two. The boys beat Chenee 91-38 in their first game and Abbeville 79-43 in the second. 

Against Chesne, Gray started with a 21-0 lead in the first quarter before Chesnee recorded their first field goal. That massive spurt to begin the game was capped by a thunderous slam from junior guard Treyvon Maddox.

“I thought defensively we were real solid, and the kids did a great job sharing the ball and playing together,” head coach Dion Bethea said.

The War Eagles entered the second half leading 62-15, where the exciting buckets continued to pour in. 

On the first play of the half, junior guard LJ Britt threw a beautiful backdoor alley-oop lob to senior wing Braylhan Thomas, which brought even more momentum toward Gray Collegiate.

Thomas may have been the most impressive player for Gray Collegiate, scoring 14 points on 7-8 shooting, along with bringing down nine rebounds. Thomas led an impressive all-around team effort from Gray Collegiate that saw six players go into double-digit scoring.

There were several close contests involving local teams that could have gone either way. Lexington County teams experienced the positive and negative outcomes of these games. 

The Lexington girls played one of the first games in the area last week, losing in one of the most dramatic and heartbreaking ways. 

The Wildcats fought back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit and took the lead against Dorman with just five seconds remaining in the game. With short time and 84 feet in the way of a go-ahead shot, the Cavaliers got the ball to freshman Makayla Moore, who ran with a full head of steam to the basket and air-balled a shot over the rim. 

There to clean up the miss was senior Jenna Cothran, who caught the ball in midair and laid it right into the basket as the buzzer rang throughout the gym, giving Dorman a 55-54 win.

The shot may or may not have gotten off in time. It was that close. 

The ball fell in Cothran’s hands with under a second left and the buzzer sounded before the ball rolled through the net. The only way to truly tell would be to go back and watch it in slow motion, but this is high school, so if the referee ruled it was good, it’s good. 

“It's pretty heartbreaking,” Wildcat head coach Molly Goodrich said. “I thought the girls fought really hard to come back. I was proud of their effort. I was proud of their energy. They made some big plays and it all came down to an oop at the buzzer, and the ref said it counted so, that's how it goes.”

River Bluff came out on the other end of a close game the next day, claiming a 71-68 victory over Gaffney after overcoming a 15-point deficit. 

Gator guard Yasir Cromer scored 31 points, including 8-11 shooting from the charity stripe, to lead his team past the Indians and into the second round. Cromer was a mismatch problem all night, driving to the pain with ease and earning and-one opportunities. 

Gaffney started the game with all the momentum after nailing their first seven shots. The Indians jumped out to a 12-0 lead and were up 14-2 by the time they missed their first look five minutes into the game. 

Both teams hit huge shots down the stretch to keep the game exciting. River Bluff made three go-ahead baskets before the final minute, but the Indians responded to each one of them. 

With under a minute left and both teams tied at 65 points, River Bluff got the ball to the hot hand, Cromer in the corner, who nailed a three. 

The Gators got a stop at the other end and then played the free throw game to go up multiple possessions and seal the contest. 

“Those kids battled,” Gator coach Benjamin Lee said. “I mean they came, and they punched us in the face, and our kids showed a great deal of resiliency. So I think that makes you even more proud of what young people can do.”

River Bluff’s luck did not carry over to the next round. The Gators lost to Mauldin on Saturday, putting an end to the team’s season. 

Five big performances 

  1. Cam Scott scored 31 points in Lexington’s round one win and followed that up with 33 points against West Ashley in round two. 
  1. Yasir Cromer had 31 points and eight assists to lead River Bluff to a comeback win in round one. 
  1. Braylhan Thomas scored 26 points for Gray Collegiate in the War Eagles second-round game against Abbeville.
  1. Michaela Fairwell led Dutch Fork to an opening win over Cane Bay after recording 22 points, seven steals and six rebounds. 
  1. Diamond Tatum finished with 16 points and added six steals, four assists and three rebounds for Gray Collegiate against Chesnee. 

Week one playoff scoreboard


Boys last week - Cane Bay (53-39, L)

Girls last week - Byrnes (51-31, L)

Dutch Fork 

Boys last week - Summerville (63-78, L)

Girls last week - Cane Bay (77-18, W), Summerville (45-42, L)


Boys last week - Goose Creek (64-38, W), West Ashley (91-48, W)

Girls last week - Dorman (55-54, L)

This week - vs. Sumter (boys 2/20)

River Bluff 

Boys last week - Gaffney (71-68, W), Mauldin (76-66, L)

White Knoll 

Boys last week - Dorman (53-38, L)

Girls last week - Goose Creek (39-33, L)


Girls last week - Westside (87-17, L)


Boys last week - Wilson (53-42, L)

Girls last week - North Myrtle Beach (53-21, L)


Boys last week - Crestwood (51-38, L)


Girls last week -  Crestwood (67-43, L)


Girls last week - Camden (83-19, L)


Boys last week - Newberry (72-57, L)

Girls last week - Saluda (44-18, L)

Gray Collegiate

Boys last week - Chesnee (91-39, W), Abbeville (79-43, W)

Girls last week - Chesnee (68-14, W), Mid-Carolina (62-17, W)

This week - vs. Fox Creek (boys 31-23, W), vs. Silver Bluff (girls 2/20), vs. Kennan in Florence (boys 2/24)

Northside Christian Academy: Boys (17-5), Girls (14-8)

Boys last week - Carolina Academy (72-50, W)

Girls last week - Christian Academy (37-25, L)

This week - vs. Oakbrook Prep at Sumter Civic Center (boys 2/20)

Lexington basketball, Gray collegiate basketball, River Bluff basketball, Dutch Fork basketball, SCHSL playoffs


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