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Landrum Advances to Round Two

Last week was a tough one for the Landrum Cardinals. Needing just 1 win to clinch the region 1-2A championship, they took to the road to face Greer Middle College Tuesday night. The Cardinals were not only pursuing their 14th straight victory on the season, but also their 4th consecutive outright region title. Unfortunately, the “basketball gods” had other plans. 


Landrum had their fair share of mistakes, but in the end, they were absolutely outplayed by a GMC team that was simply better, falling 61-56 to make the two sides co-champions. The two met again on neutral ground at Chesnee last Thursday night with the #1 seed and home court advantage throughout the playoffs on the line. 


If there has ever been an example of deja vu, Thursday night’s game was it and then some. The Cardinals didn’t help their case, having repeated a lot of the same mistakes, but at the end of the day they were once again outplayed — this time to the tune of a 69-54 victory for the Blazers. 


After a tough couple of games like that, it goes without saying that you have to make some changes, regroup, and refocus – especially when it’s time for the playoffs. That is exactly what happened in Tuesday night’s first round playoff battle as the Cardinals used a huge third quarter – aided from an unlikely source – to put away Mid Carolina 86-49 at “the Cage.” 


“We had to work on our energy and effort. Last week, we had a couple of tough losses and we tucked our chins a bit. We aren’t supposed to do that. We are supposed to play hard the whole time. When things don’t go your way, you need to pick your team mates up and keep them playing hard. Then you get on a run and pick up some momentum. That’s what we did tonight in the 2nd half”, said Landrum Head Coach Lyn Smith asked what the Cards did differently over these last 4 days to prepare for the playoffs. 


“I thought we did pretty well in the first half to hang in there. About midway through the 2nd half, we could see they were getting a little bit tired. Then we started executing and driving our gaps. We found open shooters and made some shots. Once we started scoring, they had to back out of their ‘box and 1’ defense that was limiting Frank(lin) Davis, like we saw all last week. Once we got them in man-to-man, we felt like we could score out of our sets well”, added Smith of the victory over Mid Carolina Tuesday night. 


There were 2 big storylines coming into this game for Landrum aside from the losing skid. Junior Small Forward Colby Walker was battling the flu last week and missed both games against Greer Middle College. He returned to the lineup for Tuesday’s playoff opener, which was a huge help for the Cardinals. 


The 2nd storyline developed in-game during the 2nd half Tuesday night. Sophomore guard Cooper Tidwell, who was playing JV 2 weeks ago, was brought up to varsity and made a significant impact off the bench. With the game still in the balance midway through the 3rd quarter, Tidwell went on a strong personal 7-0 run via back to back layups and a three pointer from the right side of the arch, prompting a Mid Carolina timeout and busting the game open for the Cardinals. 


“We brought Cooper Tidwell in off the bench and he had 9 big points and really attacked the basket. We just pulled him up from the JV team, so to see him come here in front of a big crowd like this and perform well was really special. We also had Colby Walker back. He made some big shots, some corner threes and some pull up jumpers, and he pulled in some big rebounds, so it was nice to have him back as well”, said Coach Smith. 


With the win, the Cardinals advanced to Friday’s second round, where they will have to hit the road to North Augusta to take on the Fox Creek Predators – which Smith says will pose a tough challenge for his squad. 


“They are a very good team. They have a player named Cannon (senior Guard Connor Cannon) whose game is similar to Frank’s (Davis), so that will be a good matchup. Thay have some good athletes and their crowd will be amazing. They pack it out. We have to travel, which is obviously always tough in the playoffs, but we are gonna go down there and fight to the end and see if we can’t pull off the upset.”


Tipoff between the Cardinals and Predators will be at 7:00 PM.

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