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Landrum Completes Sweep of Chesnee

The Landrum-Chesnee Rivalry saw its next chapter happen in a crucial region 1-2A battle Friday night at “The Cage” in Landrum. The Cards came into the night as one of just 2 teams locally to be undefeated in region play up to this point as they make their way through the region schedule for the 2nd time – the other being the red-hot James F. Byrnes Runnin’ Rebels. 


Earlier this week, Landrum defeated Liberty on the road 70-54 thanks to a 25 point performance from Benett Edwards, who was one of 3 Cardinals to log double figures. Mario Gonzalez tallied 14 and Franklin Davis scored 12 in the road victory. 


Chesnee was coming in feeling confident after back to back region wins – a 90-32 drubbing of Greenville Tech Charter followed by an 81-74 showing at home against Blacksburg where Chesnee came back from being down 32-27 at the half with a 30-7 third quarter to give more than enough cushion for the win. 


With both of these 2 teams confident and having plenty of shooters on their roster, it was bound to be a very intense and physical game. Add in that “the Cage” is one of the most insane environments for local high school hoops and it was the recipe for a fun night of basketball. 


The Cardinals wasted no time in setting the tone for the battle. Coach Lyn Smith rotated a lot of bodies in and made plenty of substitutions in the early going. They also took a lot of shots. By the end of the game’s opening 8 minutes, Only 2 Landrum players that saw minutes did not take at least one shot from the field. They started the game 11 for 19  – 8 of 12 in the paint and 3 for 6 from three point range. They outscored Chesnee 23-18 in the opening quarter with the bulk of those points coming from a surprising source – Sophomore Point Guard Aj Lindsey. 


“Aj started off making 4 straight baskets to start the game. He’s not a big three point shooter but he’s been working on his shot. He hit two 3’s tonight. Normally we don’t let him shoot them, but he was feeling it, his form looked good and he was making them. Everything he does is off of hustle. He is all heart, he is everywhere, he is one of our leaders – and he’s only a sophomore”, said Coach Smith. 


Lindsey slowed down as the game went along, finishing the night with 13 points, which made him the third leading scorer on the team. Junior Shooting Guard Benett Edwards was the lone other Cardinal to put up double digits, coming in as the 2nd leading scorer with 16. But as the remainder of the night went on, a familiar story played out. Franklin Davis did Franklin Davis things. 


The 6 foot 3 senior shooting guard logged 16 points on 5 of 8 from the field, most of which came in the 4th quarter with the game still being in the balance, to help propel Landrum past a then-undefeated in region Greer Middle College, which he followed with a 23 point showing against Blacksburg prior to his 12-point effort against Liberty earlier this week. He is one of the most consistent and dangerous shooters in our area – definitely someone you cannot leave open or let get hot. Unfortunately for Chesnee, he did just that. 


Davis took over the game the rest of the way, adding to his 7 point first quarter with 19 over the final 24 minutes, giving him a team-leading 26 points on 9 for 13 shooting (a perfect 6-6 from the field and 3 for 8 from beyond the arch) as well as 5 for 6 at the free throw line. 


“What a heck of a player. He (Davis) started off the game making some shots, he had some mid-range pull-ups and nice finishes at the rim. He missed a couple of bunnies late, but he has scored 1400 career points and he is gonna bring it every single night. He helps us win a lot of ball games”, said Smith. 


Chesnee managed to keep the deficit in the single digits in this game despite the fact Landrum led wire-to-wire en route to the 73-65 victory – thanks to having 4 of their best scorers all log in double figures. 


Sophomore Forward Eli Brown led the way for the Eagles with 15 points. Senior Guard/Forward Kaylob Blanton was not far off with 13 points, most of which came from the charity stripe, where he was 5 of 6 on the night. Senior Guard/Forward Daniel Wease and Senior Shooting Guard Brady Poole each tabbed 12 while Junior Shooting Guard Coyie Poole just missed being the 5th in doubles with 9. 


“We had a tough battle at Chesnee a couple of weeks ago and we knew it was going to be another tough battle at home. We had a big crowd and a lot of support out here. It was a great game, it was back-and-forth. It was entertaining and we were just very fortunate to come out on top. They have some really good players and shooters and some guys that got all the way to the rim on us. We are very excited about getting out of here with a win”, said Smith. 


“They’re tough to try and shut down. If you can contain them, you will do okay. Last time we did a really good job on them. This time, they got loose and made some big time baskets. If you leave them open, they will make you pay. We played ‘no-help’ defense and tried to stay on them the whole time”, Smith added of the effort from Chesnee’s shooters and defending against the Poole brothers. 


Landrum, now 19-4 overall and 7-0 in region 1-2A and already having clinched a playoff spot by virtue of their win over Greer Middle College last week, will take on Blacksburg Tuesday night at “The Cage” in their final home game of the regular season with tip off set for 7:30 PM. Chesnee (12-11, 3-4 1-2A) will play their final home game as well, hosting Greer Middle College on Tuesday night with tip scheduled for 7:30 PM.

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