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Lancaster got defensive and notched a playoff victory.
The Lancaster Bruins picked up their defense and delivered a decisive 72-42 win over Westside High School of Anderson in the opening round of the Class AAAA Upper State basketball playoffs Wednesday night.
The Bruins took control in the pivotal third period after holding only a 23-19 lead at the half on the pesky Rams.
Westside hung around, using a deliberate style to stay within striking distance of the No. 6 Bruins.
The second half was a different story as Lancaster, 23-3, came out strong and hit the Rams with a series of runs to take command and move to round two Saturday night at 7.
LHS’ 30-point win sends it to Piedmont for a Class AAAA Upper State second-round game with Wren, which advanced with a tough 67-64 win over J.L. Mann High of Greenville on Tuesday night.
Lancaster, with a strong second half, didn’t have as much trouble in advancing to round two.
“Everything on offense starts with our defense,” LHS coach Ricardo Priester said. “We came out with our defensive energy and that sparked our transition game.”
Two 3-point plays – one from Sindarius Thornwell and another from C.D. Pelham – sandwiched around an Alan Robinson trey gave LHS a 36-22 lead, but Westside sliced it to 10, 36-26 midway the third period on Trey Lowder’s basket.
Then, the Bruins took control with a key 12-0 run to push the LHS lead to 48-26.
Robinson, who hit 24 points – 16 in the second half, scored five points in the surge. Robinson, who netted four treys, was one of five LHS players to score in the key spree.
“Westside battled and gave us a challenge, which is part of the playoffs, but then we turned up our pressure and our crowd got into the game,” Priester said. “It always helps with the sixth man in the stands.
“That’s a key boost when you can get on a roll and get that emotional lift,” he said.
Lancaster, with a 27-11 surge, held a 50-30 lead with a period to play.
Westside, which finished 13-11, never got closer than 16, as LHS steadily built its final margin in the final period.
The Bruins had eight of 10 players score, with Robinson leading the way with 24, 16 in the second half, which included four treys.
Thornwell netted 17, nine in the first half, to go with nine rebounds.
Pelham hit nine to go with nine boards and four assists. Nate Bush scored eight and KeAnthony Foster hit six points.
Junior guard Demarcus Montgomery had four, hitting four of four free throws with no turnovers and five assists.
“Montgomery stepped up for us in a key situation,” Priester said. “He has really come on in the last few weeks to give us quality play.”
Hall and guard Deuce Dunlap added two points each for the Bruins.
Kyre Sadler scored 13 for Westside. Gilbert had nine and Quez Gaines added eight.