The Sumter High School varsity boys basketball team scored a grand total of 35 in its 22-point loss to Conway in its Region VI-5A opener on Tuesday.
On one of Isiah Moore’s seven slam dunks off an assist from Cameron Singleton, the Gamecocks broke that barrier with 2:59 remaining in the first half of their game against Socastee on Friday at the SHS gymnasium. Needless to say, it was a much different outcome for Sumter.
Led by Moore’s 34 points, the Gamecocks rolled to an 87-53 victory. They improved to 9-7 overall and 1-1 in region play.
The Sumter girls continued their winning ways, blasting the Lady Braves for their seventh straight victory. They are now 10-3 and 2-0.
Both Moore and Gamecocks head coach Shawn Jones agreed that practices on Wednesday and Thursday had a lot to do with Friday’s success. However, player and coach had different takes on the practices.
“We had two great practices, probably our best practices all year,” said Moore, who has signed to play with College of Charleston. “It got us ready for tonight. We came out flat (against Conway), but we came out with a lot of energy tonight.”
“Those practices were very tough,” Jones said. “We played with a lot more energy tonight than we did on Tuesday. There was a lot of running in the practices and it carried over to tonight.”
The Gamecocks came out using a lot of defensive pressure and that quickly picked up the tempo of the game. Sumter also forced the Braves into many turnovers, which led to several easy transition baskets.
The Gamecocks led 23-12 after one quarter and pushed the lead to 45-26 by halftime.
“We let Conway dictate the pace of the game on Tuesday,” Jones said. “Tonight we controlled the tempo with our defense. We got a lot of our points with our defense.
“We played with a lot of intensity tonight, which is what we need to do. We weren’t perfect tonight, but if we play with intensity and discipline, we can be a very good team.”
One of the lulls that Jones spoke of came at the start of the third quarter. Socastee, which fell to 1-1 in region play, scored the nine of the first 10 points of the second half to cut the lead to 46-35. They had a couple of chances to cut the lead to single digits, but missed out. When Tyree Smalls drained a 3-point basket for Sumter, the rout was on.
The Gamecocks led 61-44 after three quarters before outscoring the Braves 26-9 in the final stanza.
“We just played with a lot of energy and intensity tonight,” said Moore, whose team is ranked eighth in 5A in the latest South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association poll. “Coach told us that if we just execute our offense it will be nothing but easy baskets. The way we played today was our state championship team.”
Smalls added 14 points for Sumter, while Omar Croskey had 10. Eric Watts and Jaylen Johnson both had seven.
Kendrell Generette led the Braves with 16 points. Jay Williams and Andrew Gardner both had 11.
In the girls contest, Sumter limited Socastee to six points in the first half and put the game away with a 20-point third quarter.
The Lady Gamecocks outscored the Lady Braves 15-3 in the first quarter. Carnasia Wells hit a pair of 3-point baskets to lead the charge. After taking a 24-6 lead into the locker room, Sumter used 10 points from Layken Cox and five from Tamerah Brown to push the lead to 44-15 after three quarters.
“We’ve really been playing great defense the last few games,” said Lady Gamecock interim head coach Jeff Schaffer. “I hate to keep saying this, but we’re still a very young team and these girls are still learning. We continue to improve with what we’re doing defensively.
Wells led Sumter with 14 points. Cox had 10 points and seven rebounds while Nina Edlow and Kiara Jones both had eight. Brown had seven points, six rebounds and five assists, while Edlow grabbed seven rebounds.
Marta Galindez led Socastee, which fell to 6-6 overall and 1-1 in region play with seven points.