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Cheraw tops Manning 63-58 after heated fourth quarter

By J. Scott Sewell
Posted 2/26/20

CHERAW - The final 5 minutes, 6 seconds, of Manning High School’s 3A boys basketball state playoffs quarterfinal game against Cheraw was played without fans in the stands after the gym was evacuated following a fight at mid-court. Cheraw ultimately won the contest 63-58 and advanced to the Lower State final at Florence Center on Friday.

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Cheraw tops Manning 63-58 after heated fourth quarter

Posted

CHERAW - The final 5 minutes, 6 seconds, of Manning High School’s 3A boys basketball state playoffs quarterfinal game against Cheraw was played without fans in the stands after the gym was evacuated following a fight at mid-court. Cheraw ultimately won the contest 63-58 and advanced to the Lower State final at Florence Center on Friday.

The fight began when two players from opposing teams became entangled, and it escalated when fans and players from both teams rushed the floor of Cheraw High School’s tiny gymnasium where spectators are mere inches from game action at all times.

In the end, however, Manning was the only team penalized. Monarch players Leondria Nelson and Don Hilton were ejected from the game, and Cheraw made five of the seven free throws they were awarded for the fouls.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been a part of anything like this,” said Manning head coach Rolando Shuler. “There was a little scuffle on the ground, but it wasn’t really even a scuffle, and then one of our kids stepped over one of theirs. The guy pushed up on him, and then a parent came out of the stands from Cheraw and attacked one of our kids. That’s what I saw happen.

“Then, somehow, they ended up with eight (actually seven) free throws, and we didn’t get any. Their crowd jumped on the court. I thought that should’ve been a technical foul as the home team.”

Cheraw held a 53-42 lead after the free throws were made, but Manning clawed back and cut the deficit to just three with 30 seconds remaining. The Monarchs missed a 3-point shot that could’ve tied the game 58-58, and the Braves managed to hit 5 of 6 free throw attempts in the final seconds to secure the victory.

“We knew Cheraw was going to come out and play like this,” said Shuler. “They’ve got a couple of kids that can really light it up. Hats off to them; their kids played really good.”

The Monarchs were unable to shoot their way out of Cheraw’s zone defense in the first half, allowing the Braves to race out to a 28-19 lead at halftime.

“We didn’t hit many shots tonight,” said Shuler. “When we aren’t hitting our shots we settle. I thought we shouldn’t have settled so much. That’s not what we wanted to do, but that’s kinda what they made us do in the first half.”

The second half became much more physical, with referees choosing not to call fouls on drives to the baskets Manning junior Jaquan Fletcher was especially impacted by the way the game was called, repeatedly driving to the hoop, only to get knocked to the ground without a foul called.

“We didn’t get many calls tonight, but I’m not going to blame the referees,” said Shuler. “They saw what they saw, and we just didn’t get it done.”

The game marked the end of the careers of several Manning seniors who helped the team to much success over the past several seasons, including Aaron Smith, Xavier Hicks, Felder, Nelson, and Hilton.

“These seniors have meant so much,” said Shuler. “They’re part of the first group I had when I came to Manning when I was the JV coach and we went 21-0. They were the ones that started the program and got the program going back in the right direction. I’m going to miss this team. The good thing about them is they started a program in Manning. We’ve got just as many kids coming back. As long as we’re playing basketball around this time of year we’ll eventually get to where we’re trying to get. We’ll be back. I can promise the city of Manning that. As long as Coach Shuler is here, we’ll be back.”

Cheraw held a 53-42 lead after the free throws were made, but Manning clawed back and cut the deficit to just three with 30 seconds remaining. The Monarchs missed a three-pointer that could’ve tied the game 58-58, and the Braves managed to hit five-of-six free throw attempts in the final seconds to secure the victory.

“We knew Cheraw was going to come out and play like this,” said Shuler. “They’ve got a couple of kids that can really light it up. Hats off to them, their kids played really good.”

The Monarchs were unable to shoot their way out of Cheraw’s zone defense in the first half, allowing the Braves to race out to a 28-19 lead at halftime.

“We didn’t hit many shots tonight,” said Shuler. “When we aren’t hitting our shots we settle. I thought we shouldn’t have settled so much. That’s not what we wanted to do, but that’s kinda what they made us do in the first half.”

The second half became much more physical, with referees refusing to call fouls on drives to the baskets Junior Jaquan Fletcher was especially impacted by the way the game was called, repeatedly driving to the hoop, only to get knocked to the ground without a foul called.

“We didn’t get many calls tonight, but I’m not going to blame the referees,” said Shuler. “They saw what they saw, and we just didn’t get it done.”

The game marked the end of the careers of several Manning seniors who helped the team to much success over the past several seasons including Aaron Smith, Xavier Hicks, Felder, Nelson, and Hilton.

“These seniors have meant so much,” said Shuler. “They’re part of the first group I had when I came to Manning when I was the JV coach and we went 21-0. They were the ones that started the program and got the program going back in the right direction. I’m going to miss this team. The good thing about them is they started a program in Manning. We’ve got just as many kids coming back. As long as we’re playing basketball around this time of year we’ll eventually get to where we’re trying to get. We’ll be back. I can promise the city of Manning that. As long as coach Shuler is here, we’ll be back.”