Broome Falls to Carolina Academy
Everyone loves a good sports cliche, right? Well, a common one that is heard in high school sports is “Non-region prepares you for your region schedule.” Not to further cement myself as Captain Obvious, but that is one reason why you see every coach decide to take a different approach to who they schedule in their non-region games. Some believe that if you play the best from in state and out as well as teams in classifications above you, that their squads will be better battle-hardened to face the best teams in their region. Others believe that building confidence and getting good reps in against smaller opponents as they get closer to the start of “the real season” is the key to success.
Maybe neither is actually an absolute truth. It could just be a subjective thing, and that regardless of which you do, if you don’t execute well and don’t have a disciplined team with sufficient talent, you won’t be successful either way. For certain, talent goes a long way. Carolina Academy features 2 very talented seniors in Forward Mike Garrett and Guard Zanterio Spurgeon as well as a sizable Post player in Senior Damarian Copeland. They have a lot of speed and physicality up and down their roster, and that has no doubt been a key difference maker for the Trojans this season.
The Trojans HAVE played a tough schedule as well. In non-region, they did a bit of both “playing up” and playing some “smaller” opponents. They played Hillcrest, JL Mann, and Woodmont – all 5A opponents. They also took on Riverside, Greenville, Berea, Eastside, and Easley – all 4A. Their other non-region opposition consisted of 2A Liberty, Greer Middle College, 1A Calhoun Falls Charter, fellow 3A schools Southside and Fountain Inn, and the Greenville Hurricanes (homeschool team). In that non-region stretch, they went 5-12, with their wins coming over Liberty and Greer Middle College. They were outscored 1,039-733. That averages out to them scoring about 46 points per game while giving up an average of about 65.
In region 3-3A play, the Trojans came into Friday night’s game in third place with a 5-3 region record, having swept a struggling Chapman, got swept by region-leading Travelers Rest, split with Blue Ridge, and with a win in their first meeting with the Broome Centurions. In that span, they have still been outscored 522-477. Whether or not their non-region slate was a help or not, who knows? But regardless, the Trojans are a good basketball team, and with Broome having been in a funk since the start of region play, it was going to take a big effort from the Centurions for a win.
The game got off to a slow start offensively. The Centurions got out to the early 2-0 lead on a basket by Xavier Hill. That would end up being the last time they led in the game. Despite the great defensive efforts from Will Hickson’s Broome squad, they had a tough time with the Trojans’ aggressive defense forcing a lot of bad passes, attacking off the dribble to get a lot of steals, and keeping the likes of Brady Poole and DT Thompson from being able to find a lane inside. Broome mustered just 12 points in the opening frame, with 8 coming from Xavier Hill and Brady Poole. The Centurions also struggled to defend against Mike Garrett, who tallied 10 points in the first quarter, including a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
The tale of the 2nd stanza was almost deja vu, as the Centurions once again managed just 12 points. They had positive momentum, cutting the deficit down to 5 twice before turnovers and inability to contain Zanterio Spurgeon reared their heads. He logged 8 points in the frame to help carry the Trojans to a 37-24 halftime lead.
The Centurions put together their best 8 minutes of the contest on offense in the 3rd quarter. Brady Poole made his presence known, scoring 11 of Broome’s 15 points, but thanks to Spurgeon and Garrett and 4 points from Damarian Copeland, Carolina led 52-39 heading to the final frame, in which the Trojans managed to continue to set the pace. Broome scored 13 points, but once again could not keep Carolina off the scoreboard enough to close the gap, surrendering 14 to make for the final margin of 66-52.
There was a big positive for Broome in this game despite the loss. The Centurions have managed to have the most success this season when Brady Poole has been hot. Since the start of region play, opponents have been managing to limit him. But, he was the leading scorer for Broome with 19 points – 15 of which came in the 2nd half. The issue was that only one other Centurion was close. Lance Henderson had 9 points off the bench – 5 of them in the 4th quarter.
Coyie Poole, brother of Brady, logged 5 points while Jackson Fowler, DT Thompson, and Xavier Hill each tallied 4 a piece.
Broome, now 8-16 overall and 2-5 in region 3-3A, will have a good shot at wrapping up the regular season with a win on Tuesday night and get some momentum going into the playoffs (they have the 4 seed on lock since Chapman is already mathematically eliminated at 0-7 in region) as they travel to Inman to face the Panthers with tip off set for 7:30 PM.
Carolina’s regular season ends with them sitting in 2nd in region III-3A at 5-3 (10-16 overall). Their final seeding will be determined on Tuesday night, when Blue Ridge, who is in 3rd but only a game back at 4-3, takes on Travelers Rest. Should the Tigers win, it will make for a tie for 2nd and the need for a neutral site tiebreaker. A win for TR locks Carolina in as the 2 seed.