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Loss to Gaffney Has Bulldogs In Danger

As the high school basketball season winds down to its final week, our local teams have entered the danger zone (*cue Kenny Loggins*). There are a few that have to win against a tough schedule to keep their chances alive at a showdown for the region championship next week. There are also others that are in danger of missing the playoffs entirely if they don’t pick up a much-needed win in crunch time. 


Both were perfectly exemplified Friday night in Boiling Springs’ Bulldog Arena as they hosted the Gaffney Indians. 


Gaffney entered the night sitting in 2nd place in region 2-5A at 4-1 (14-7 overall) with their lone region loss coming at the hands of the 1st-place Byrnes Rebels in a 93-66 drubbing back on January 23rd. A win for the Indians would keep them on track for a shot at forcing a tie with Byrnes, provided they don’t slip up in their penultimate game against Dorman on Tuesday, while a loss would all but lock the region title up for the Rebels. 


Boiling Springs, despite being in nearly every region 2-5A game except for 2, found themselves winless and in desperate need of one in order to keep their hopes alive for earning their way into the playoffs rather than relying on an at-large bid. 


As far as the stakes go, this game was one to circle on the calendar this week. 


Senior night at Bulldog Arena’s tone was set quickly as the Indians jumped out to an early 5-0 lead behind the speed and confident shooting from long range of their impressive freshman Point Guard Rickey Littlejohn. The Indians speed and ability to smother their opposition l in the post led to Boiling Springs struggling to find their footing on offense early. The Bulldogs started 0-5 from the field, with their only points in the first 5 minutes of the opening frame coming at the charity stripe. Isaiah Athkins went 3-4 and Jyssiah Foster was 2-2 at the line before Jymire Wright finally hit on a layup at the 3:05 mark for the Bulldogs’ first fieldgoal. 


After a quarter, the Indians held a 15-9 advantage before Rickey Littlejohn took over with 12 of Gaffney’s 16 second quarter points. Despite Littlejohn’s burst, Boiling Springs was able to keep from going down any further than 10 thanks to a late 4-0 burst from Jymire Wright, leading to a 31-21 Gaffney lead at the half. 


The Indians maintained their pace up until the last 3 minutes of the 3rd quarter, when they went on a long scoreless skid that allowed the Bulldogs to gnaw their way back into the fight. With 5:30 to play in the ballgame, Boiling Springs took its first lead of the night 41-40 on a three from the right wing by Reese Walter, prompting a Gaffney timeout. 


That timeout proved to be a good one, as it did not take long for the Gaffney offense to come back to life. With 4:50 to play, Rickey Littlejohn broke the skid with a layup that put the Indians back on top and sparked a decisive 13-2 run. 


Gaffney would push it to a 17-4 run down the stretch to a 57-45 victory, thanks in part to a new career-high 28 points from Littlejohn. 


Boiling Springs did not get the typical double digit performance out of their senior Guard/Forward Landon Sprouse. In fact, Sprouse was a game time decision. He had been ill all day on Friday and looked to be in doubt. Thankfully for the home crowd on senior night, he was able to play, logging 7 points with a couple of nice blocks. However, it was Jymire Wright who stepped up to be the team leader, as the lone Bulldog in double figures with 10 points. Isaiah Atkins and Reese Walter joined Sprouse with 7 points each to round out the top scorers. 


Despite the results of this game, neither team is out of the danger zone. Gaffney (15-7, 5-1 2-5A) has a tough matchup coming up on Tuesday as they go on the road to Dorman with a tentative 7:30 tip. A win over the Cavaliers sets up a chance for a share at the region title on Friday as they host Byrnes at the Burial Ground. 


Boiling Springs will hit the road looking for some revenge for a loss to Spartanburg last week in which the Vikings erased a 20 point deficit to steal the win in the closing seconds. The Bulldogs will need the win to force a tie with the Vikings for 4th place. The tie breaker scenarios still likely favor Spartanburg, but a win for BSHS could drastically improve their chances of getting the at-large bid out of the upperstate in 5A. Anything short of a win and the season is over as the Bulldogs are the lone 5A team off next Friday. Tip off for the Bulldogs and Vikes is set for 7:30 PM tentatively.

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