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Roundball Classic Day Two

Night number two of the annual Chesnee Roundball Classic started with a B side game between Union County and Broome. But if anything about these 2 teams we know, it is that although this bracket is the teams that lost yesterday, that does not mean that they are bad or that they won’t give their best effort.


As a matter of fact, the game was almost a deadlock all the way to the finish. When I arrived midway through the 3rd quarter, Broome had a 28-21 lead. But it was short-lived. These 2 squads traded body blows for the remainder of the game. It was the kind of game that was so intense that you wanted it to go to overtime, and that was exactly what happened. At the end of regulation, it was locked at 49. 


For a while, it seemed that this game might be headed for a second free period had it not been for a gutsy effort by Union’s Keishawn Gibson. Going up for a layup with a 2 point lead in the final seconds, he was elbowed and sent flying shoulder first into the floor behind the back line. He was down for a while before ultimately getting up and taking his 2 free throws. He split them, forcing Broome to have to shoot a 3 to try and send it to a 2nd OT. The lob from about half court fell short and the Jackets won it 63-60. 


In game 2, the home standing Chesnee Eagles took on the Blacksburg Wildcats in the B side. These 2 teams are going to get to know each other well this season since they are region foes, so there was a degree of intrigue to this matchup. They already met once in a tournament at the beginning of the season, with Blacksburg coming out on top 54-53. 


The Wildcats showed last night that they are a scrappy team that manages to use their speed to swarm to the ball and get into passing lanes to force a lot of turnovers. They also showed they have a knack for making comebacks. Last night, the Cats went down by double digits within the first 5 minutes of the first quarter. In the 2nd quarter, they clawed their way back with a big run to cut it to a 6 point game before Catawba Ridge’s depth advantage took over and the Copperheads went on a hot streak to pretty much ice it away at the half. 


Tonight went much the same way for Blacksburg. They didn’t find themselves in a big hole early this time, trailing just 18-16 after a quarter. After going to the half down 36-28, the Wildcats came out swinging in the 3rd quarter. They held Chesnee to just 11 points in the period while Jacob Gillfillan tallied 10 of their 18 points to cut it to just a 1 point game heading to the final stanza. 


The Wildcats took the lead early in the 4th behind 3 straight baskets by Senior Center Ratavious Degree, but in the end, this game came down to the final 2:00. Chesnee reclaimed the lead behind Daniel Wease and Kaylob Blanton, who combined for 15 points in the 4th quarter alone. Blacksburg was forced to foul in the waning seconds, and Chesnee did what good teams do in that situation. The Eagles went 7-9 at the line down the stretch. To compound things, Blacksburg, although they were able to get looks to try and pull back in, just could not get a clutch shot to fall. Chesnee pulled away for the 75-69 win. 


4 Chesnee players scored in double figures. Daniel Wease logged 19 points. Kaylob Blanton wasn’t far behind with 17. Noah Mvula put up 13, while Dawson Pruitt scored 11. 


Blacksburg was led by Jacob Gilfillan with 24 points and Ratavious Degree with 11. 


The A side games got started with an intriguing matchup between Fort Mill and Hillcrest. I’ll skip to the 4th quarter in this recap because that was when things got interesting. In brutal honesty, Hillcrest was the better team. But, one of the biggest (and most proven to be true) cliches in sports is that the best team is not always the one that wins. That was the case in this one. 


Hillcrest led the entire game – up until the final 4:21. Hillcrest started turning the ball over a lot. Credit to Fort Mill, they took a page from Blacksburg’s book in using speed to make reads and jump into passing lanes to pick off passes as well as managed to take advantage of every loose ball and foul on the Rams down the stretch. The Jackets went on a 9-4 run to take a 44-43 lead and then held Hillcrest to a nearly 3:00 scoreless stretch during which Fort Mill pushed their run to 13-4. 


In the end, it came down to Hillcrest being forced to foul. Fort Mill drained 2 in the final 8 tenths of a second to seal the deal and win 52-47 and punch their ticket to the championship game. 


The final game of the night from the A side for the 2nd berth in the championship game was between the Boiling Springs Bulldogs and the Copperheads from Catawba Ridge. 


I feel like a broken record in saying this, but the Bulldogs were hot coming in, having won 7 in a row. Needless to say, their confidence level was probably high coming into this one – especially with the news that Zyan Hager, Catawba Ridge’s leading scorer that was injured in their round 1 game with Blacksburg, would be out for 2 weeks. 


It may be that Boiling Springs was overlooking the Copperheads in their confidence in how well they had been playing. But, personally I don’t believe Craig Martin is the type to let that happen. Whether or not that was the case does not matter. 


I’m a firm believer that 2 things can be absolutely true at once. It is true that Boiling Springs did not play their best game. It is also absolutely undeniably true that Catawba Ridge outplayed them in every conceivable way. 


The first quarter in this one went about the way you would have expected the entire game to go. Boiling Springs held a narrow 18-16 lead behind several 3 pointers. WJ Fowler hit 2. Landon Sprouse drained one. And of course, Tre Locklear had a tre ball. That would be the only good quarter the Dogs had. 


Catawba Ridge opened the 2nd period with a 12-0 run to establish a big lead. Tre Locklear buried a 3 with 4:02 to play in the half to snap that run, but those 3 would be the only points in the quarter for Boiling Springs. Catawba Ridge made the 2nd quarter a 23-3 run to salt the game away. 


In the end, the Copperheads set up a battle between 2 Fort Mill schools for the championship, as they snapped the Bulldogs’ win streak 66-37. 


Boiling Springs was led by WJ Fowler, who buried four 3 pointers on the night for 12 points. Tre Locklear was not far behind with 11. No other BSHS player scored more than 5 points. 


Lance Barnes led the way for Catawba Ridge with 20 points while Grant Lovette was the 2nd leader with 16. 


The final day of the Roundball Classic gets started with the 7th place game at 3:00 PM, featuring Broome vs Blacksburg. After that, Union County and Chesnee will battle for 4th place with tip set for 4:30. Hillcrest and Boiling Springs will face off for 3rd place at 6:00, and the championship game is set to start at 7:30 with what looks to be a fun game between cross town “rivals” Fort Mill and Catawba Ridge.

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