Points were hard to come by in the varsity boys basketball game between Sumter and Lakewood high schools on Thursday at the SHS gymnasium.
The game went to overtime and the teams still weren't able to combine for 100 points. The Gamecocks rallied from a 6-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to force overtime and outscored the Gators 8-4 in the extra period to win 50-46.
So was it bad offense or good defense or a little bit of both. Both coaches insist it was outstanding defense.
"I really thought both teams played great defensive games," said Sumter head coach Shawn Jones, whose team improved to 2-0 on the season. "I mean what was it at halftime, 17-14? That's just two teams working really hard on defense."
"I thought we played a pretty good defensive game," said LHS head coach Bryan Brown, whose team fell to 1-1. "I think the difference in the game though was Sumter hit its shots when it got open looks and we didn't."
The Gamecocks" Omar Croskey nailed a 3-point basket to start the scoring on the evening, but then the points dried up quickly. SHS managed a 12-7 lead after one quarter, but didn't score for the first six minutes of the second stanza. Fortunately for SHS, Lakewood managed only seven second-quarter points as it had the 3-point halftime lead.
The Gators, ranked fourth among 4A schools in the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association preseason poll, started getting its offense going in the third quarter, getting into the lane and forcing fouls. They scored 16 points, going 6-for-7 from the free throw line, to go up 30-29 entering the final stanza.
Grant Singleton hit a layup to start the fourth quarter and when Terrell Houston drilled a 3 LHS had a 35-29 lead. Brown called a quick timeout after the basket.
"I just wanted to give my players a breather," he said. "They had been on the floor a long time and I wanted to let them catch their breath. I had four timeouts."
Whether the timeout had anything to do with it, Sumter rolled off nine straight points to go up 38-35. The first five came from Tyree Smalls.
Lakewood rallied to go up 42-38, but Isiah Moore hit four of five free throws in the final minute to force the overtime.
Smalls canned a trey to start the overtime as Sumter pushed the lead out to 49-42. The Gators didn't score until less than a minute remained.
"I'm proud of the way my guys responded," said Jones, whose team is ranked fifth among 5A schools. "We didn't panic at all."
Smalls led Sumter with 14 points, while Moore had 13 and Calvin Felder nine.
Juwan Perdue led LHS with 14, Singleton had 13 and Houston and Ahkeem Lawson both had eight.
In the girls game, Sumter outscored Lakewood 16-7 in the third quarter to open a 10-point advantage and went on to 40-27 triumph.
Nina Edlow led the 1-1 Lady Gamecocks, who led 19-18 at halftime, with 14 points. Layken Co and Tamerah Brown both had eight.
Ki'Ari Cain and Lashala Harvin both had eight for the Lady Gators.