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EASLEY – The way Lancaster High sophomore star Sindarius Thornwell saw it,
he and his Bruins’ teammates had two options – step up, or make strides
“We didn’t want to go home,” said Thornwell, who scored 25 points and
grabbed 10 rebounds to help the 19-7 Bruins march on with a 76-66 win over host Easley in the Class AAAA Upper State boys basketball playoffs.
The 10th-ranked Bruins, in a tight tussle for postseason survival with the No. 9 Green Wave, were able to get the upper hand in the third quarter and hold on for the 10-point second-round road victory.
Lancaster moved on as the Bruins visited Dorman in the Class AAAA Upper
State semifinals at DHS on Tuesday night. The Cavaliers rolled to a 64-43
win over Richland Northeast of Columbia.
Lancaster, which took a 28-26 lead at the half on Qua Duncan’s
buzzer-beating rebound hoop, was able to stretch its lead in the third
Junior guard Alan Robinson, who scored 20, was the pivotal spark in the
Bruins’ third period as he keyed a huge 10-0 LHS run with a pair of treys
and buckets by senior co-captain Forrest Woodard and Thornwell for a 52-42 spread.
“Alan knocked down some big shots,” LHS coach Ricardo Priester said.
“I felt I had the hot hand and my teammates kept pushing the ball to me,” Robinson said.
Robinson netted six treys, with 11 points in the second half.
“Number 1 (Robinson) got in a groove and they did a good job of finding
him,” Easley coach Grant Stallard said.
LHS, thanks to a Thornwell tip-in, owned a 54-45 lead with a period to play.
The Green Wave, which finished 20-6, kept coming and trimmed the LHS lead to five, 65-60 on five straight points by EHS junior forward Spencer
Collins, who hit 27 points – 14 in the second half, to pace the Green
The Wave kept chipping away, three times slicing the LHS edge to four –
the last time at 70-66, but the Bruins answered in the clutch.
“We just gutted it out,” Priester said. “Basketball is a game of runs and
we knew they would make a run, but we weathered the storm.”
“They gave us their best punch, but we absorbed it and gave it back,”
Lancaster finished in a flurry, scoring the game’s final six points in the
Thornwell scored on an easy inside bucket as the Bruins were patient in
their attack, working for the layup.
Qua Duncan, who came off the bench to contribute in a big way with five
rebounds and nine points – seven in the second half, netted two free
tosses with 27.2 points and sealed it with a late bucket before the final
buzzer as he did in the first half.
“We have 14 players and we expect each one to respond when called upon and that’s what happened tonight. Easley is a traditional Class AAAA
basketball power and they hit some big shots, but we kept battling,”
Stallard lauded the Bruins’ defense.
“Their zone just gave us fits because they’re so long and athletic,” he
said. “We had a tough time of getting shots.”
Priester noted it was about execution.
“Playoff basketball comes down to free throws, rebounding and defense and we were able to do these when they made runs at us,” he said. “We had some opportunities in the first half and we didn’t take advantage. Our guys stepped up to the challenge.”
LHS hit 17 of 21 free throws, including 10 of 13 in the final period.
Thornwell led LHS with 25 and Robinson hit 20. Trapps tallied 12 points
and had eight boards.
Duncan scored nine. Nate Bush and Forrest Woodard had five each.
Collins led Easley with 27, 14 in the second half. Matt Preston hit 12,
four treys. Troy McGowens hit 10 as did Tim Pickel.
Lancaster returned to the Upstate to face Dorman on Tuesday.
”We’re glad to advance, but we’re not satisfied,” Priester said. “We’re
happy to be alive. There’s work to do, but we’re thrilled to have the