2A Boys Playoff Roundup
By Justin Mathis/The Spartanburg Sports Report
All it took was one shot to completely shift the momentum on Wednesday night.
With time winding down in the third quarter, Landrum’s Trey Smith got an outlet pass in the backcourt, drove past a couple of defenders, pulled up just a couple of feet in front of the half-court stripe and drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 42 as the horn sounded.
When the dust settled, Landrum emerged with a hard-fought 63-56 victory over the Fox Creek Predators (15-10) in the first round of the 2A playoffs.
Layups from Foster Bridges and Smith ignited an 11-2 run for Landrum start the final frame, putting the Cardinals ahead of the Predators 53-44 with close to five minutes remaining.
“We didn’t really rebound that well in the first half,” Bridges said. “Our bigs stepped up – they really rebounded well, controlled the glass, and that’s really what helped us win. We’re at our best when we can get people to speed up their game. When we’re able to create turnovers, we always try to exploit that (because) it gets our team easy buckets and gets our team going.”
The Cardinals figured out an answer for Fox Creek’s pressure defense in the second half, which included finding Manny Gonzalez in the low post for several key baskets down the stretch in the fourth quarter to help the Cardinals pull through and hold off the Predators.
“Our bigs (in the post) struggled in the first half,” Landrum head coach Lyn Smith pointed out. “They’ve been like that all year. They’ll always come through in one of the halves. We talked (at halftime) about how they struggled in that first half and in the second half, they came through again just like they did against Blacksburg the other night. Manny made some big-time baskets.”
Landrum had three players finish in double figures, led by Trey Smith with a game-high 27 points. Foster Bridges tallied 12 points, while Gonzalez chipped in 10.
Fox Creek’s DreShaun Carter and Keelyn Freeman each scored a team-high 15 points, followed by Rod Culver with 11.
Landrum (20-6) advances to the second round, where they will travel to take on top-seeded Greenville Tech Charter, who defeated North Central 60-46 on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 7 PM on Saturday.
In other 2A boys action Chesnee fell on the road at Gray Collegiate 114-33.