The Lady Gamecocks turned a 6-point halftime lead into a 66-38 victory, while the SHS boys led 22-19 at halftime before winning 57-39.
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Both varsity basketball teams for Sumter High School found themselves in tight battles at halftime of theirgames against Spring Valley on Tuesday at the SHS gymnasium.
When all was said and done though, Sumter had a pair of convincing victories,
The Sumter girls improved to 19-4 on the season and 6-1 in Region IV-5A and set up a showdown for first place in the region on Friday on the road against Irmo. SHS needs to beat Irmo, 20-3 and 7-0, to make them co-champions. A tiebreaker would then determine who gets the region’s No. 1 seed in the state playoffs and two home games that come with it.
The Sumter boys secured one of the region’s three automatic playoff berths with Tuesday’s win and Blythewood’s 50-49 win over Lugoff-Elgin on Tuesday. The Gamecocks are 15-10 overall and 4-3 in the region, the same as Blythewood. The only way Sumter can get the No. 2 seed from the region is to beat region champion Irmo on Friday and have Spring Valley upset Blythewood on Friday. If Sumter and Blythewood finish with the same region record, Blythewood will get the No. 2 seed.
The Lady Gamecocks led Spring Valley, which dropped to 10-15 and 3-4, just 30-24 at halftime. However, Sumter outscored the Lady Vikings 18-7 in both the third and fourth quarters to come way with the easy victory.
SHS head coach Jeff Schaffer said the difference in the two halves was the defense his team played on the basketball.
“The biggest thing is we got out and got more pressure on the ball on the perimeter,” Schaffer said. “We anticipated where they were going with some passes, and we got steals off of those passes. We’ve been preaching that all year. We’ve got to get out and pressure the ball.”
Sumter had four players score in double figures, led by senior Tamerah Brown with 20 points. Brown just went over 1,000th points for her career.
Another Brown, Rickell, scored the first 10 points of her high school career. Rickell just completed her season playing with Chestnut Oaks Middle School and was added to the Sumter roster.
Kiara Croskey and Layken Cox had 15 points apiece.
Lauryn Taylor led Spring Valley with 16 points. Ariana Wilkes added 12.
In the boys contest, it took Sumter a little while to get things going in the second half and take over the contest.
After scoring the first basket of the second half to go up 24-19, the Gamecocks went over four minutes without scoring. Fortunately for them, Spring Valley, which dropped to 1-22 and 0-7, could manage only four points to cut the lead to one.
A Joseph Durant 3-point basket broke the drought, making it 27-23 with 4:18 left in the third quarter. Deshawn McKnight hit a layup and Leslie Owens a free throw before Durant drained another 3 to make it 33-23 with 2:27 left.
SHS led 35-26 after three quarters but broke the game open on two free throws from Owens, a fast break layup by Jaiven Lowery-Isaac and a trey by Nakeem Isaac. That made it 42-26 with 6:31 left in the game, and the Vikings never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.
Sumter head coach Bryan Brown said his team played a more fundamentally sound game in the second half.
“We were playing against a team that had nothing to lose, and they came out and fought us hard,” Brown said. “We had to focus on making adjustments, taking care of the basketball. We had to play smart basketball.
“Defensively, we did a good job of taking away the middle,” he added. “We wanted to force them to shoot jump shots, keep them out of the middle. We’re bigger than they are, but they’re a scrappy team. My hat goes off to those guys, they play hard.”
Marcus Lane was the only Gamecock in double figures with 10. However, Durant had nine, Isaac eight, Owens seven and McKnight six.
Wilkes 12, Liebert 5, Entzminger 3, Taylor 16, Anthony 2.
Croskey 15, R. Brown 10, T. Brown 20, Andrews 2, Cox 15, Al. Johnson 4.
Henderson 6, Wilson 6, Cooke 3, Pollard 2, Perez 9, Moore 2, Hood 2, Davis 3, Hutto 4, Williams 2.
Lane 10, Durant 9, McCants 3, Lowery-Isaac 5, Isaac 8, Brunson 5, McKnight 6, Owens 7, Boone 4.
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