Cardinals Clinch Region
By: Jordan Ferrell
As a sports fan and writer, there are a couple of things that you shouldn’t do. Number one is to give all the credit for a win (or the blame for a loss) on one player. Number 2 is that you shouldn’t just blame the refs every time you lose. But, I am afraid that the only way to accurately describe Landrum’s region-clinching 73-62 win at Chesnee last night is to do just that.
Normally I save the “who impressed me” for the end, but I am just going to go ahead and say it. Landrum’s junior Point Guard Isaiah Washington was beyond phenomenal. The Cardinals only had 2 players put up double digit points, and they have him to thank. Washington finished the game with 32 points, more than doubling the total from their 2nd leading scorer, Junior Small Forward Spencer Harmon, who tallied 14. The trio of Cooper Gentry, Mason Raines, and Ethan Dugat that were so strong against St. Joe’s last Tuesday was held to a combined 15 points.
This game started out looking like it was going to be a defensive slugfest as both teams played a very slow pace and played stifling defense, especially in the post. The pace finally picked up over the final 2:00 of the 1st quarter, when it became a sluggish back and forth battle. At the end of the first, the Eagles held a 16-15 lead.
The stifling defense continued in the 2nd quarter. Landrum was able to outrebound Chesnee by keeping them from being able to gain enough of a presence inside to box out. However, that did not translate into points. Chesnee also had their fair share of missed opportunities on their end of the court. They were able to get inside and get offensive rebounds but just could not get the ball to go when they needed to each time they put the ball up in the paint. With a couple of late turnovers, the Cardinals were able to get their lead up to 8 going to the half.
The third quarter is where the game quickly became the Isaiah Washington show. The Cards didn’t play tempo and used Washington to help wear Chesnee down and open up their largest lead of the night, as they took it to the 4th quarter up 55-43. Chesnee did fight their way back into the game during the 4th quarter, narrowing the gap to as small as 6, but in the end, the Cardinals once again used the fact that Chesnee simply did not have an answer for Isaiah Washington to wear down the Eagles and pull away for the 11 point win.
On the Chesnee side of things, the Eagles were led by their 6’ 2” senior Guard Nyquille O’Fair, tallying 19 points. Senior forward Cole Hoskyns had 13 points, and KJ Valentine scored 11. One thing that you can attribute to the great defense played was that Landrum limited Chesnee’s extremely talented Freshman Guard Brady Poole, who leads the Eagles in all categories this season, to only 10 points.
While Landrum clinched region 2 2A with the win, the Cards don’t have much time to celebrate as they will do battle again Friday night with Chesnee, this time at Landrum, and I have a feeling the Eagles will have a sour taste in their mouth they will look to get rid of after letting this one get out of hand. There’s no better remedy for that than a big road win over the region champs to give you some momentum to make the push through the final 3 games of the season. Can they do it? I can’t wait to find out.