Raiders' run keys victory over Vols

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By Dylan Knight

KERSHAW – Andrew Jackson hits the road for a pair of key Conference IV-AA basketball games this week and the Volunteers will be seeking to bounce back.

AJ, hosting Keenan of Columbia, dropped a pair of league games to the visiting Raiders on Friday night.

The KHS teams, each ranked eighth in their respective statewide hoops polls, rolled to wins over the Volunteers.

The Lady Raiders posted a 61-21 win over the Lady Vols to open the twin bill.

In the nightcap, the Keenan boys used a pivotal third-period charge to take control of the game in a 64-39 victory over the Vols.

The Raiders’ 25-point win snapped a three-game win streak for the Vols, who fell to 11-5, 4-2 in region play.

Keenan, up 11-8 after one period, held a 29-25 edge at the break.

The Raiders came out in the second half and broken open the game with a 17-4 surge. Keenan also had a 19-0 run, which began in the third period and extended into the final quarter.

“We couldn’t buy a basket in the third period,” AJ coach Dale Reeves said. “We didn’t execute well and we didn’t rebound well in the game.

“We started slow to open the second half, but Keenan had a lot to do with that,” Reeves said. “Their zone defense gave us problems in the third period. The third period really put us in a hole and we didn’t recover.”

Dennis Rowe paced Keenan with 27 points and Ryan Norris, reputed as one of the top seniors in Class AA hoops, added 15 points. The Raiders, 12-8, 5-1, were coming off a road loss to Central of Pageland on Tuesday night.

AJ was led by Tremaine Jackson and O’Marr Truesdale who scored 12 points each. Ryan Miller, AJ’s  top scorer for the season, netted seven points. Daniel Wright and Justin Sellers scored three points each. Drew Gardner added two points for AJ.

In the girls’ game, the Lady Raiders shot to a 17-0 lead to open the game and forged a 21-5 spread in the first period. Keenan, buoyed by its fast start, owned a 35-14 lead at the break.

“We started slow and we knew we had to play well from the start and have a solid, overall game,” AJ coach Dennis Farmer said. “I thought we bounced back after the first period.

“We battled and didn’t quit,” Farmer said. “It’s a challenge each night in this region, but we have to keep working and play hard.”

Rachael Dippel led AJ, 0-6 in region play, with 10 points. Jazzy Gripper hit six points and Halle Thompson scored three.

Ashley Aiello and Brandy Ellis chipped in one point each.

Keenan was led by Myosna Henciks, who hit 16 points. Kia Rankin tallied 14 points for the Lady Raiders, the defending Class AA girls state champions.

The Vols trek to Columbia to face the Capitols on Tuesday. The girls’ game tips off at 6 p.m., with the boys to play at 7:30.

AJ is on the road again Friday night when the Vols visit Central to face the Eagles.

Central swept a home twin bill from Conference IV-AA foe Lee Central of Bishopville on Friday.

The Lady Eagles edged LC 54-53 and the Eagles downed Lee Central 61-56.

The Vols’ make-up game with Central, which was postponed Jan. 20 due to the winter storm, will be played Feb. 10 at the AJ gym.