5 Big Things: Dorman falls to Gaffney
Entering Friday night’s game, the Gaffney Indians and Dorman Cavaliers were headed in opposite directions. The Indians were boosted by a 25 point win against Spartanburg in its last game, while the Cavaliers had dropped two straight including a 24 point loss of their own at home against Byrnes. On Friday night, Gaffney started strong, still overcame a fourth quarter deficit to force overtime and beat Dorman by a final score of 67-61. Here are my final takeaways from the game.
1-This Gaffney Indians team is a resilient group. The game played out in a way where each team definitively outplayed the other twice each in the four quarters. Gaffney opened strong with a ten-point first quarter lead, getting to the rim with relative ease and Kaleb Phillips scoring all nine of his points on three three-pointers. Dorman went on to outscore the Indians in the second and third to take a six point advantage to the final period. This game could’ve been over after a 12-3 Dorman run to start the third quarter, but the Indians were sparked on a key stretch from Markell Hollis who hit a three, grabbed a steal, and threw down a fast break dunk to get Gaffney within one point with five minutes to go. The defense stood tall on the last possession where the Cavaliers failed to even get a shot away with ten seconds and the ball in a tie game, forcing overtime.
2-In the extra period, the beginning, middle, and end of the story was freshman guard Rickey Littlejohn. Littlejohn scored ten of Gaffney’s twelve points in overtime to lock down the win. Getting to the basket, getting to the line, and hitting the clutch shots against the defending state champion is a lot to ask for any player, much less a freshman starter. Littlejohn proved that his Indians are ready to compete for a region title in 2-5A, and have the horses over five periods to prove it against the class of the state in Dorman.
3-The Cavaliers now sit in a position that they haven’t faced in nearly eight years, a three-game losing streak. Yes, Gaffney has had a strong season so far and admittedly haven’t received quite the attention it deserves, but the Indians haven’t been as consistently dominant over the course of the entire season as Byrnes or Greer. Something was off early on with this Dorman team, and it looked like a team that wasn’t at 100% in the confidence department. The Indians got to the basket with ease, and another slow first quarter start for the Dorman offense had the team playing from behind the eight ball again.
4-Christian Andrews shined again with a game-high 23 points, with 17 of those points coming after halftime. Keenan Arcega-Whiteside bounced back after a rough outing Tuesday to show why he is a matchup nightmare for opponents with his size, skill at the rim, and shooting ability in the mid-range. The Cavaliers haven’t put together a full 36 minute performance this week, and against two very good teams you can’t just skate by on name alone especially on the road.
5-After a week in 5A with two candidates for game of the year, we now get the third game in that round-robin in just three days. After Dorman went through Byrnes and Gaffney in one week, the Indians head to Duncan on Tuesday to matchup with the Rebels as the two 3-0 teams in Region 2-5A. It’s the first of two meetings of the season, and the winner will get the edge for the most important games of the year. The Cavaliers go to Spartanburg on Tuesday in more desperate need of a win than maybe anyone in the county to get back on the right track.