TURBEVILLE -- Dawn Staley should’ve stayed for the fireworks.
East Clarendon High School’s varsity boys and girls basketball swept Mullins on Friday night, punctuated by the EC boys winning a 42-40 overtime thriller in the second game.
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East Clarendon High School’s varsity boys and girls basketball teams swept Mullins on Friday night, punctuated by the EC boys winning a 42-40 overtime thriller in the second game.
University of South Carolina head women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley was in attendance for the first game, watching sophomore sensation Talaysia Cooper.
Cooper didn’t disappoint, as usual, scoring 18 points with 25 rebounds, six blocks, and six assists in EC’s 61-43 victory. The Lady Wolverines are now 15-4 overall and 7-1 in region play.
The Lady Wolverines led from start to finish, jumping out to an 8-0 lead and never trailing.
ECHS led 27-15 at halftime, and outscored Mullins 34-28 in the second half.
Senior Rhamey Floyd added 11 points and 18 rebounds while Valincia Garris finished with 11 points and 25 rebounds.
The boys game turned into an instant classic after a slow start. The Wolverines improved to 14-3 overall and a perfect 8-0 in region play.
“It’s always fun to win a game at home,” said ECHS head coach Seneca Barron. “Our guys really fought hard tonight. We didn’t play our best game, but Mullins really smacked us in the mouth tonight. We’re blessed and lucky to come out with a win, they really outplayed us.”
Mullins took a 25-12 lead into halftime, and then scored the first basket of the second half to stretch their lead to 15.
“Our offense was standing around and not getting any movement,” said Barron. “Our defense and our crowd got us back into this game. We’ve been in that position before against Carvers Bay, and a couple of other teams in the region have been up on us. Our guys just keep fighting. We keep preaching, we work over those situations in practice all the time.”
The Wolverines began a furious comeback in front of a loud, rowdy, and packed ECHS gymnasium.
“This small gym is always a home court advantage for us,” said Barron. “Our student section really came out. Our fans are definitely a part of what we’ve got going on.”
Jalen Bryant connected on a clutch 3-point basket with a little over two minutes remaining in the third quarter to cut the lead to 27-25.
The Wolverines took a 31-29 lead after senior Marquis Pearson’s offensive rebound and putback early in the fourth quarter..
Senior Tyjahi Calvin stretched the lead to 34-31 after making one of two free throws with three minutes remaining. Calvin finished with 13 points, four rebounds, and four steals.
Mullins managed to send the game into overtime after a basket with just 59 seconds left in the game.
Bryant connected on another big 3-point basket to open overtime, giving the Wolverines an early lead. Mullins tied the game up again, and Jaquil Wilson made one of two free throws for a 40-39 East Clarendon lead.
Junior Keyon Wilson then stepped to the free throw line and knocked down both of his free throws after a key Mullins turnover, and the Wolverines held on for the victory.
“Hats off to our guys, they just keep fighting and they try to do things the right way,” said Barron. “It’s a special group of kids, I’m just looking forward to seeing how far this thing can go.”
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