5 Big Things: Byrnes Rallies to Beat Dorman
In a highly anticipated rematch of a Region 2-5A game that the Byrnes Rebels dominated against the Dorman Cavaliers earlier this season, the Rebels faced a nine-point deficit going into the fourth quarter. After allowing ten straight points to finish the third Byrnes sprung a comeback, forcing three straight turnovers and scoring the final five points to win it 56-53. Here are my biggest takeaways from the game.
1-Dorman played this game at the exact tempo it wanted to, slow and in the half-court. Byrnes has blitzed its opponents this season with a rocket-fast pace transition basketball, but tonight had to adjust from an early point. The Rebels struggled to shoot early on, going cold from three and unable to answer Cavalier triples on the other end. Byrnes’ saving grace was how stout the team was defensively, keeping the lead at a reasonable spot where it could go into the locker room still in striking distance.
2-Byrnes was paced by senior guard Will Fowler, who scored a game-high 22 points, and he was joined by junior center Evan Enos who connected on big shots all night. Enos finished with 17 points, hitting three shots from beyond the arc and two of them coming in the fourth quarter. His shooting ability stretched out the Dorman defense and allowed Fowler and others to get inside on offense.
3-The game ultimately came down to a stretch of three possessions inside the final 90 seconds, all of them ending the same way for Dorman. With 1:20 left, a Cavalier pass was stolen by Kayzzin McDowell and played forward to Fowler, tying the game at 53. On the next trip down the floor, McDowell poked loose ball free to be stolen by Colt Fowler, who assisted Will in the fast break and gave the Rebels its first lead of the game at 55-53 with 40 seconds left. Now trailing and needing a bucket the Cavaliers again couldn’t get a shot up, Colt Fowler got another steal, and Will Fowler made a free throw to put the game on ice.
4-Of the 32 total minutes of game time, Dorman led or was tied in all of them except for the most important 40 seconds. Christian Gentry led the team with 12 points and two second half three-pointers. Christian Andrews finished in double figures with 10 points and Keenan Arcega-Whiteside finished with nine.
5-With the win, Byrnes clinched at least a share of its first region championship since 2016, the last state championship team for the Rebels. This year’s unit will have similar goals, and at 7-0 in the region with one game remaining Byrnes has the chance to have the 5A upper state playoffs run through Duncan. Dorman will need wins over Gaffney and Spartanburg next week to earn its way to a first round home playoff game.