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5 Big Things: Byrnes Advances to Semifinals

With just four teams left in the upper state of South Carolina’s biggest classification, Tuesday night saw the top pair of squads from Region 1 matchup with the same from Region 2. After Mauldin defeated Dorman to book its ticket to the state semifinal round, one more spot was reserved for the winner from Duncan between the Byrnes Rebels and TL Hanna Yellow Jackets. After a win in the regular season, the Rebels earned another one in the playoffs by a final score of 63-55. Here are my biggest takeaways from the game. 


This game is everything you would want and expect from a late-round playoff game. Close throughout, both teams going on important scoring runs, and clutch individual plays in the fourth quarter. Byrnes’ defense was forcing TL Hanna into a lot of long jump shots that it struggled on early in the game, but a matchup problem that the Rebels rarely faced this season made itself clear. The Yellow Jackets could put two bigs on the floor at the same time, giving them a big advantage in the paint and on the glass. Nobody in Region 2 has two starters six-foot-five or taller to throw at Byrnes in the paint, where Evan Enos is the tallest starter for the Rebels and many smaller guards are asked to rebound. 


TL Hanna’s Jaquarious Patterson and Lucas Wiersma played very well throughout the night, and were tasked with stopping Byrnes guards Will Fowler and Colt Fowler cutting to the basket. Javeyn Martin did most of the scoring for the Yellow Jackets and showed off solid defense and a big shot ability. TL Hanna found a lot of success early in the second half getting to the rim because of the height advantage inside.


The biggest moment of the game for Byrnes came with less than two minutes to go in the third quarter, when the not-shy Kayzzin McDowell pulled up for one of his deep three-point attempts and connected. He went on a quick run to tie up the game going into the fourth quarter. McDowell is a spark plug for the Rebels, a good defender and in range when he steps across half-court. He finished with 16 points in the win, with 11 of them coming after halftime.


Tied at 42 going into the fourth quarter, Byrnes picked the right time to put together its highest scoring period of the night. The Rebels fell behind early in the quarter, missing their first four free throws. Byrnes didn’t end up tying it again until there was 3:45 left on the clock, when Will Fowler hit his first and only three pointer of the game. Fowler scored seven straight points before Colt Fowler hit McDowell with a monster alley-oop to go up 57-51. The Byrnes defense got a couple steals, and TL Hanna had a costly offensive foul and turnover, for the Rebels to close out the win. 


Byrnes will meet Mauldin in the upper state championship this Friday at 4 PM in Florence. The SCHSL this season had a predetermined host site for all upper state and lower state championships, as well as state finals, at the Florence Center. The Rebels beat Mauldin twice this year in the regular season, at home by seven points and on the road by four points. It should be another incredible matchup with a trip to the state championship on the line.

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