Battle at the Border Round 2
With the Gold and Silver Brackets set, the semi finals got underway on day 2 of the 23rd annual Battle at the Border at Landrum High School’s “The Cage.” Things got started bright and early with the Girls’ Silver Bracket.
Girls’ Silver Semi 1
Chapman and Woodruff both took tough losses on day 1, with the Panthers falling 48-31 to Southside and the Wolverines getting absolutely dominated by a Gaffney team that had 5 players score in double figures. So, naturally both squads were looking for some redemption today, and they both played like it. It was a defensive affair from the opening gun. Woodruff led most of the first quarter up until the final minute, when trailing 14-9, the Panthers hit on back to back 3s and then went 2-2 at the line to go on a 6-0 run and take a 16-9 lead into the 2nd quarter.
The Wolverines managed to stay in it and came back to tie it at 22 with 1:50 to play in the first half, but the rally stopped there as Chapman went right down the court and hit another clutch 3 to reclaim the lead 25-22. At the half, the Lady Panthers led it by just a point 25-24.
If the first half wasn’t wild enough for you, wait until you hear about the 2nd..
With 7:15 to play in the 3rd, Woodruff hit a 3 from the right wing to take a 27-26 lead that sparked them to a 13-3 run that spanned the whole quarter. That’s right. They held the Panthers to just 3 points to take a 39-28 lead to the final stanza.
Chapman finally broke their long scoreless skid with a 3 with 7:40 to play in the game. About a minute later, a double technical was called on the Woodruff coach, and the Panthers split the 4 free throws to take a 41-39 lead and followed it with another clutch 3 to extend it to 44-39. All in all, the run for the Panthers was 14-2 before Woodruff snapped it with a 7-0 run of their own to make it a 2 point game.
Then came the final seconds. The Wolverines tied it at 54 on a 3 with :30 left. On the ensuing possession, a player from Chapman slipped and fell with the ball, and was immediately called for a travel with about 3 ticks left. Out of a timeout, Woodruff took the lead on a jumper from just inside the right wing to take the 56-54 lead. Chapman got the ball back out of a timeout with just enough time to inbound and heave up a prayer, which went wide of the basket, giving the Wolverines the win.
Sophomore Shooting Guard Sadie Burnette led the way for Woodruff with 18 points. Freshman Point Guard Jensyn Turner added 15, and Junior Power Forward Tyana Herbert tallied 11.
Chapman was led by Senior Clara Gramling with 28 points. Krislyn Wilder and Caroline Garner both tallied 9.
Girls’ Silver Semi 2
Game 2 of the day was a bit more tame than its predecessor. Boiling Springs met Savannah Brown and the host Landrum Cardinals. The Bulldogs let the game get away from them in the 2nd and 3rd quarters against Blue Ridge, falling 52-41 in their tournament opener. Landrum, on the flipside, had to be feeling extra confident after giving 5A Carolina Forest all they could handle for the entirety of the game yesterday, falling 58-49.
Savannah Brown got off to a hot start for the Lady Cards, tallying 8 points in the first quarter, and Kylie Fortner helped to compound that with 6 to help push Landrum to a 16-11 lead heading to the 2nd.
In the 2nd quarter, Kylie McMillan carried the Lady Bulldogs with 9 of their 10 points in the frame, leading to just a 23-21 halftime lead for the Cardinals.
In spite of the Bulldogs’ Kylie Ellis getting red hot and hitting on back to back to back 3 pointers in a 3rd quarter where Boiling Springs scored 12, Kaylee Cortez and Savannah Brown combined for 13 of Landrum’s 15 points to lead 38-33 heading to the final 8:00.
Landrum went on to win 52-46, led by Freshman Guard Kylie Fortner with 18 points. The Cardinals had 2 others score in double figures – Savannah Brown finished with 17 points and Kaylee Cortez logged 13.
Boiling Springs was led by Kylie McMillan with 20 points. Senior Guard Amiah Ellis was not far behind with 19. Freshman Guard Sarah Ezell was the only other Buldog close, tallying 5 points.
Boys’ Silver Semi 1
It was a tough go at things on day 1 for the Woodruff Boys. They were matched up against Shannon Forest, who was 8-1 coming in and averaging over 70 points per game. The Wolverines were completely outmatched, but showed a little promise in the 4th quarter when they put together a rally after being down by 20.
Naturally, when you see “20 point lead” and “4th quarter rally” in the same sentence, you are inclined to think that it is simply because the team making said rally is doing it against the other team’s bench players. But, the Wolverines proved today against Saint Joseph’s Catholic High School that yesterday’s 4th quarter was not necessarily just a flash in the pan.
The Wolverines actually led this game wire to wire. St Joe’s came within 3 a couple of times, but in the end, with the game close in the waning moments, the Knights were forced to foul. Woodruff took advantage and pulled away for the 54-47 win.
The Knights were led by Alex Gillespie with 14 points. Josh Burns tallied 8 while Jaylen Townsend and Juan Montoya both scored 6.
Junior Guard Happy Lea led the way for the Wolverines with 11 points. His fellow Junior Guard Nick McConnell was close behind with 10. Sophomore Guard Lake Smith tallied 9 while Sophomore Forward Hunter West scored 8.
Boy’s Silver Semi 2
Last night, Broome was absolutely dominated by Spartanburg Christian Academy 70-40. One takeaway I had from that game was that while Broome has a lot of good pieces, they have not been able to put those pieces together and play a complete game as a team. A lot of their success has come on the backs of the Poole brothers Coyie and Brady as well as Steven O’Dell and DT Thompson. One thing that SCA did so well was that they found a way to limit Brady Poole. While he still finished with 17 points, his effort alone was not enough to counter the other thing the Warriors executed well – shooting. If you can score early and often and limit Poole (or Pooles), you can beat Broome.
Unfortunately for Chapman, they could do neither today. The Centurions still did not play all that well as a team. The only player without the last name Poole that made a significant contribution for Broome was Junior Guard Xavier Hill, who logged 17 points. The rest came from Coyie and Brady. Brady scored 33 points to lead the Centurions. His brother tallied 20.
Chapman also did not shoot the ball well or with confidence. Late in the game, while trailing big, the Panthers had several good open looks that they ended up passing on. In the end, Broome cruised to one of their most convincing wins of the season 86-59.
Aside from the Super Poole Bros and Xavier Hill, Broome also got some notable production from Kamajay Brackett-Brannon with 6 points.
Chapman was led by Shawn Cunningham with 15 points. Dalton Mahaffey was a close 2nd with 14. Junior Post Carson Seymour logged 7.
Girls’ Gold Semi 1
Gaffney’s girls team put on a clinic on the opening day of the tournament by demolishing Woodruff 84-26. The Indians were 5-3 coming into the tournament and averaging just over 64 points per game. Their 3 losses were to 2 really good teams – the undefeated South Pointe Stallions and the Riverside Warriors, who are 10-2.
As good as Gaffney is, their opponent in this one was better. Southside was also undefeated so far this season prior to tonight at 12-0, and they had been averaging 65.5 points per game, outscoring opponents 786-372. Yesterday, they met a challenge in the Chapman Lady Panthers, defeating them 48-31 using defense that forced the Panthers to have to play outside their comfort zone and have to try and win the game in the paint rather than shoot threes.
All that said, this matchup was one that had a little intrigue behind it. Sadly, it did not play out near as interesting as it sounded on paper. Southside led wire to wire and it was never really a game as they rolled to the 50-27 win.
Girls’ Gold Semi 2
The final girls’ game of the day featured the Blue Ridge Tigers taking on the Carolina Forest Panthers. The Tigers were fresh off a 52-41 win over Boiling Springs while Carolina Forest won a knock down drag out fight with the Landrum Lady Cardinals 58-49.
Blue Ridge jumped out to an early lead behind a big performance from Junior Guard Zikira Henderson and Senior Guard Emily Horton. The 2 combined for 20 points over the final 3 quarters, helping propel the Lady Tigers to the 53-44 win. Carolina Forest pulled to within 5 points late in the 4th quarter only for Blue Ridge to pull away using a 6-9 effort at the charity stripe.
Boys’ Gold Semi 1
Shannon Forest and Blue Ridge clashed heads for a shot at the gold bracket championship game tomorrow. The Crusaders are by and large one of the best offensive teams in the tournament field, and it showed yesterday in their 73-47 win over Woodruff. The Blue Ridge Tigers beat St. Joseph’s 48-39 on day 1 to set this game up.
Shannon Forest’s offense did their thing again early on in this one, shooting efficiently in the paint to take a 20-11 advantage heading to the 2nd quarter. But, the offense wasn’t all that set them apart. The Crusaders also used their wealth of speed to get down court quick, block shots, and jump into passing lanes for plenty of steals.
Honestly, nothing against Blue Ridge, but Shannon Forest would be too much for a lot of teams. The Crusaders rolled to the 78-59 win behind fantastic performances from Senior Guards Brandon Wilkins, Nolan Paladugu, and Chris Agbomi. Wilkins tabbed 24 points to lead the team. Agbomi added 20 while Paladugu scored 14.
Blue Ridge was led by Guard Junior Santana, who scored 18 points. Senior Point Guard Noah Somero tallied 14.
Boys’ Gold Semi 2
The nightcap of the 2nd day was a matchup between the host Landrum Cardinals and the Spartanburg Christian Academy Warriors. Last night. SCA shocked a lot of people by coming out and hitting on 14 of about 20 attempts from beyond the arch while holding Broome’s all star Brady Poole to under 20 points en route to a 70-40 win.
But, on their home court and with a spot in the gold bracket championship on the line, Landrum was looking to add to the confidence that came with their close 68-64 win over Chapman in the nightcap of day 1.
One thing was for certain – Lyn Smith was not going to let SCA come out swinging in this one. Instead, the Cardinals came out hot thanks to a fast start on offense led by Franklin Davis, who tallied 11 points in the 1st quarter alone. In fact, Landrum had 9 players notch their way into the scorebook in the first half, while Micah Spivey, who was one of 2 players to tally 18 points in the win over Broome on opening night, had to carry the Warriors offensively all game long (he finished with 19 points).
At the half, the Cards led comfortably 47-28. The 2nd half was no different. Landrum cruised their way to the 84-48 win.
The Cardinals had 4 players tally in double figures. Franklin Davis led the way with 24 points. Bennett Edwards logged 14. Marco Gonzalez put up 11, and last but not least, Sophomore Small Forward Colby Walker scored 10.
The only other performances of note for the Warriors were from Senior Guards Ben Ashby and Dawson Ward. Ashby scored 9 points while Ward finished with 7.
Now that the semifinals are out of the way, here is the schedule for championship Friday:
Girls’ Silver Bracket
3rd Place Game
Boiling Springs vs Chapman
Woodruff vs Landrum
Girls’ Gold Bracket
3rd Place Game
Gaffney vs Carolina Forest
Girls’ Tournament Championship Game
Southside vs Blue Ridge
Boys’ Silver Bracket
3rd Place Game
St. Joe’s vs Chapman
Woodruff vs Broome
Boys’ Gold Bracket
3rd Place Game
Blue Ridge vs Spartanburg Christian Academy
Boys’ Tournament Championship Game
Shannon Forest vs Landrum