The Sumter High School varsity boys basketball team never trailed in its game against Conway on Monday at the SHS gymnasium, and the game was tied just once.
Still, the Tigers were hanging around with 3:50 left in the third quarter, trailing just 33-24. Then, just over two minutes later, the Gamecocks had put them away.
Sumter exploded with a 12-1 run to open a 45-25 lead and rolled to a 54-37 victory, handing CHS just its second loss of the season.
What pleased SHS head coach Shawn Jones with the dominating stretch was who did it.
“That was our second unit that did that,” said Jones, whose team improved to 10-5 overall and 2-0 in Region VI-5A. “We’re finally getting everyone healthy, and one of our strengths is our depth. Our second unit is as good as our first unit.
“I really think our second unit was the better matchup for us tonight.”
The Gamecocks’ Calvin Felder converted a 3-point play and followed it with an acrobatic tip-in to quickly make it 38-24. Jaylenn Corbett converted a 3-point play as well to push the lead to 41-24 with 2:21 remaining in the third quarter.
After Conway broke the run with a free throw, Darius Williams hit a reverse layup and Corbett came up with a steal and a slam dunk to push the lead to 20 with 1:26 to go.
Sumter led 46-27 after three quarters and pushed the lead to 50-27 early in the fourth quarter.
Conway came into the game ranked fourth among 5A schools in the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association poll. The Tigers fell to 11-2 overall and 1-1 in region play.
“This was easily the worst game we’ve played all year,” said CHS head coach Michael Hopkins. “We didn’t play well and Sumter played great. It was a combination of both (for the poor performance). We’re trying to get our players to see how they have to play when they go on the road in this region.”
Conway was 7-for-21 from the floor in the first half, but was just 3-for-23 in the second half to finish 10-for-44. Jimmy Nichols was the only Tiger in double figures with 14 points.
“We’ve been playing pretty good defense all year,” Jones said. “We did a good job of contesting shots tonight.”
Sumter also had just one player in double figures, Corbett with 13 points. However, the Gamecocks had 10 players score, all of them scoring in the first half as well.
Ryan Missildine added eight points, while Felder had seven and Raymond Johnson and Isaih Moore both had six.
SHS led 15-8 after one quarter. Conway was trailing 25-21 with 46 seconds left in the first half. Tylik Sibblies-Simon drained a jumper to push the SHS lead to six before Moore got free in the left corner and banged home a 3-point shot with four seconds left to make the halftime score 30-21.