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KERSHAW – With early-season county hardwood bragging rights on the line, rivals Lancaster and Andrew Jackson each had reason for a hoops boast Friday, Dec. 6 in the AJ gym.
The Lady Vols garnered a solid win in the varsity opener, downing the Lady Bruins, 53-46.
The Bruins, in the nightcap, notched one for the blue and gold with a 58-39 victory.
The LHS boys squared their record at 3-3 with their 19-point win over the Volunteers, who battled but couldn’t solve the Bruins.
Lancaster forged an early edge and was able to take a 30-23 lead at the break.
In the third period, the Bruins began to stretch their lead, but the Vols stayed in striking distance as LHS led 45-36 with a period to play.
In the final period, the Bruins took control with a crucial 9-0 run to open the pivotal period.
LHS senior guard Deuce Dunlap, who led the Bruins with 19 – 11 in the second half, began penetrating the paint for buckets or drew fouls.
Dunlap’s trey gave LHS its largest lead, 54-36, and the Bruins cruised to the win.
“Andrew Jackson, as always, is a tough place to play and provides us an atmosphere of a region road game,” LHS coach Ricardo Priester said. “This was a tough win for us, but I feel it shows we grew some from our game with Spring Valley on Tuesday night at home.”
Lancaster dropped a 64-63 loss to SVHS after holding a 16-point spread early in the final period.
“Tonight, we made plays and did what we had to to earn the win in a tough environment,” Priester said. “I think we were patient on offense and took care of the basketball.
“We also played as a team out there,” he said. “Five guys playing together is a beautiful thing.”
Dunlap’s effort, included 8-11 at the stripe.
Calvin Crawford aided a balanced LHS attack with 10, five in each half. Keifon Cogdell netted eight and E.J. Patterson, who hit some key shots late, added seven. Taron Heath hit six points and grabbed five rebounds.
Cameron Meadows scored four. Keont’e Mack and Lewis Johnson each had two points. Kavonta Strain added five boards.
LHS hit 15-26 free throws, while AJ made 15 of 25.
Cameron McIsaac led AJ with 14 points, eight in the second half. Dustin Eddins netted nine, seven in the first half. Corley Walters scored six. Luke Sowell and D.J. Hagins had four points each.
Austin Truesdale netted two points for the Vols.
“We struggled on offense, but our effort was there,” AJ coach Danny Wright said. “We just couldn’t get our shots to fall. We’re a young team, but I like the way we battle and hustle. We will keep working and improving,” he said.
The opener saw the Lady Vols, 2-0, surge late to blitz the Lady Bruins, who fell to 2-3.
The AJ girls fashioned an early lead and were able to maintain control until making a key run in the final period.
The fast-starting Lady Vols forged an 11-2 in the first period before the LHS girls got on track to tie the game at 22-all at the break.
The contest was stalemated at 32-all after three periods, but then the AJ girls took charge to gain the emotional win.
“We had a good game plan and we executed it real well,” AJ coach Dennis Farmer said. “We made plays when we had to on both ends of the court.”
AJ opened the pivotal final period on a 7-2 run for a 39-34 lead, with McKenzie Horton draining a key three for the five-point spread.
“McKenzie hit a big three and later Summer Vick had a three to boost us in the final period,” Farmer said. “Those were huge shots at key points.”
Lancaster rallied to slice the lead to three, 41-38, on a Kyia Hough steal and bucket with 3:24 to play, but the Lady Vols answered as Elizabeth Scott hit four straight free throws to extend the AJ edge to 45-38 with 2:55 left.
Scott sparked AJ with 17 points, hitting 11 of 13 foul shots, including 6 of 6 in the fourth period.
Hough, who led LHS with a game-high 18 points, dropped in two free throws with 1:54 left to pull the Lady Bruins within two, 45-43.
AJ answered with a crucial 8-3 run to seal the win.
Andrew Jackson senior Anslee McDow hit two free throws as did Scott, and Vick netted her trey to give AJ a 52-43 advantage to all but seal the victory.
“AJ made plays and made shots at key points,” LHS coach Ronnie Robinson said. “We didn’t execute and gave up too many open looks. We weren’t aggressive.”
The Lady Bruins didn’t help their cause with three technicals, sending AJ to the line where the Lady Vols hit 26-37. LHS made 12 of 20 at the stripe.
Scott led AJ with 17 and Dareisha Sowell scored 12, 10 in the first half. Summer Vick hit nine and Horton had eight. Mary Kelsie Broughton scored four and McDow supplied three.
Hough’s 18 led LHS. Phoebe Johnson supplied 10 and Aliyah Davis scored seven.
Mia Flowers contributed four. Kenyatta Robertson hit three. Kaliya Jackson and Keyotta Garris added two points each for the LHS girls.
Lancaster returns to action Wednesday, Dec. 11 when LHS visits Pontiac to face the Spring Valley Vikings. LHS returns home to battle AJ on Friday, Dec. 13.
AJ visits Lee Central of Bishopville on Tuesday, Dec. 10 before venturing to Lancaster to face the Bruins in the hoops rematch.