5 Big Things: Battle at the Border Day 1
The Battle at the Border hosted by Landrum kicked off on Thursday, featuring eight boys teams and girls teams playing a combined 24 games over a three-day stretch. On the boys side, half of the field features teams in the Spartanburg area as Broome, Landrum and Woodruff picked up wins and Chapman suffered a loss. Here are my biggest takeaways from the first round.
1-Woodruff is not being talked about enough as one of the best teams we cover. Honestly we are lucky to cover a lot of good teams, and when we vote on Fab Five every week naturally good teams will be left out. Woodruff has been the team I’ve wanted to rank the most but just haven’t found room for, and a strong showing this week might change that going forward. After a slow start in a 57-52 win over Blue Ridge, senior guard Kory Scott led the charge in the second half to a come from behind victory to push the Wolverines into the winners bracket against St. Joseph’s on Friday.
2-Broome cruised to a first round win over a greatly overmatched opponent, First Presbyterian Academy at Shannon Forest, by a final score of 75-39. The Centurions set the tone from the opening tip by getting steal after steal, leading to several transition points and racing out to a 32-11 first quarter advantage. Lance Henderson poured in 23 first half points including a hit from just inside the mid-court stripe to beat the halftime buzzer, and finished the contest with 25 points after sitting much of the second half. Broome will match up with a tough Landrum team in the semifinal round on Friday.
3-The Landrum Cardinals looked the part again as one of the best teams in the state at 2A. The only regular season losses this squad has taken so far are against 5A Spartanburg and George Wythe (VA), who just beat Dorman at the Arby’s Classic in Bristol. I once in a column called Greer the fastest and most athletic team I’ve seen so far, Landrum might be 1B to the Yellow Jackets 1A in that department. Bennett Edwards was soaring to the rim early on, Franklin Davis supplied his usual playmaking in the backcourt, and the deep Cardinals bench kept the onslaught going to a 76-33 win over Spartanburg Christian. Landrum will play Broome Friday night, in a rematch of a Centurions win during a preseason tournament.
4-St. Joseph’s brought one of the best teams in 1A to the Battle at the Border and played a rock fight type of game against Chapman. Shooting was a struggle for most of the contest as the Knights beat the Panthers 41-36. Chapman was the smaller team in the matchup, and it cost them late as it couldn’t secure rebounds to extend the game. Freshman point guard Grayden Humphries flashed as a bright spot shooting-wise for the Panthers.
5- Yet again, shot clock basketball proves to be a much more entertaining and skillful brand of the game than what we are getting ready for in region play once the calendar turns. One of the main arguments against shot clock installation in the high school game is that only 5A schools with big budgets would be able to afford them. Yet here I am sitting at 2A Landrum High School, staring at big red numbers above the basket that the locals are calling ‘shot clocks’. Weird.