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Fast start helps Red Devils claim boys championship

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By Robert Howey

KERSHAW – Great Falls used a blazing start to fuel a 60-48 win over Conference III-A foe North Central to claim the boys title in the Comporium Christmas Classic on Friday night at Andrew Jackson High School. In the consolation round, Lancaster rebounded from a first-round loss to Great Falls to down county foe Andrew Jackson for the third time this season.The Red Devils, 9-2, were red hot at the start, rolling to a 24-4 lead on the way to the 12-point win and their second straight Comporium boys title.“We got off to a real hot start and then we just survived,” Great Falls coach John Smith said. “North Central battled back and outscored us 44-36 over the final three periods.“North Central played us tough over the last three periods of the game,” Smith said. “We play them two times this season in regular-season play, so we know it’s going to be a battle.”The Red Devils are slated to face North Central on Jan. 8 at Boonetown to open Conference III-A play.In the game Friday, North Central battled back to make it 34-21 at the half. The Red Devils owned a 50-35 lead after three periods before taking the win. Great Falls used a balanced attack to notch the win.Leroy Roseboro paced the GFHS offense with 16 points. Desmar Anderson netted 12 and Jeremy Simpson scored 11.Brandon Crawford chipped in 10 points. Torry Craig scored nine points and Ketron Johnson added two points. Simpson, who scored 30 points in the Red Devils’ two tournament wins, was named the boys’ tournament MVP.Crawford and Anderson were selected to the all-tournament team. Anderson hit 23 points in a pair of tournament games. North Central was led by Laquan Murphy’s 20 points, 12 in the second half.Greg Caldwell hit 14 and Ronta Drakeford scored 10. Jeron Black and Steven Caldwell added two points each. Drakeford was named to the all-tournament team.In the boys’ consolation round, Lancaster also used a fast start to notch a 75-60 victory over Andrew Jackson. The Bruins’ 15-point win gave 5-3 LHS three wins over the Vols this season. Lancaster, in its season opener at AJ, edged the Vols 62-61 and took a last-second 49-47 win on the Bruins’ home floor.Lancaster bolted to an 18-8 lead after one period and held a 43-25 edge at the break.“It’s tough to beat a team three times in one season,” LHS coach Ricardo Priester said. “With Andrew Jackson, it’s always a battle, so getting three wins over them is a challenge.“After losing to Great Falls on Thursday, I thought our guys responded well,” Priester said. “We showed some character and played with heart.“Andrew Jackson played hard and we were fortunate to win,” Priester said. “We just made a few more plays.”Shurdell Wright, the Bruins all-tournament pick for the second straight season, hit 10 points. Casey Catoe scored 15, nine in the first half, to lead LHS. Michael Catoe netted 11. Wright, Ron Trapps and Mitchell Belk scored 10 each. Gerard Brace chipped in eight. Taniel Massey added five. Xavier Holloway, Teron Truesdale and Avery Harris hit two each. LHS hit 27 of 35 free throws. The Vols were led by Jonathan Belk’s 16 points. Elijah White hit 15 and Justin Sellers scored 14, including three treys.Omarr Truesdale had six points. Cedric Wright followed with five points and Cory Ingram added four. Daniel Wright was named to the all-tournament team.“We were a little short-handed today, but our players battled all the way and never quit,” AJ coach Dale Reeves said. “Lancaster was able to gain control early.”In the opening round Thursday afternoon, Great Falls topped LHS 64-52, with Wright hitting 21 for LHS. Simpson scored 19 for GFHS. North Central dumped AJ 72-48. Drakeford hit 24 to lead NC, while Cedric Wright scored 14 for AJ.The Vols return to the hardwood Friday when they face North Central at 6 p.m.Lancaster ventures to Clover on Wednesday for a 4:30 p.m. game after the girls play at 3. LHS hosts Rock Hill on Friday at 6:30 p.m.