Whether it begins today against Crestwood High School or on Saturday against Dorman High in the Bojangles' Bash, Sumter High varsity boys basketball head coach Shawn Jones knows his Gamecocks need to start playing better basketball.
SHS, which …
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at Nash Student Center
4 p.m. — Varsity Girls: Hilton Head
Christian vs. Palmetto Christian
5:30 p.m. — Varsity Boys: Hilton Head
7 p.m. — Varsity Girls: Wilson Hall vs.
8:30 p.m. — Varsity Boys: Wilson Hall vs.
4 p.m. — Varsity Girls: Carolina Academy
vs. Orangeburg Prep
5:30 p.m. — Varsity Boys: Carolina
Academy vs. Orangeburg Prep
7 p.m. — Varsity Girls: Veritas Christian
vs. Laurence Manning
8:30 p.m. — Varsity Boys: Veritas
Christian vs. Laurence Manning
11:30 a.m. — Varsity Girls: Palmetto
Christian vs. Veritas Christian
1 p.m. — Varsity Boys: Palmetto
2:30 p.m. — Varsity Girls: Wilson Hall vs.
Hilton Head Christian
4 p.m. — Varsity Boys: Wilson Hall vs.
11:30 a.m. — Varsity Girls: Carolina
Academy vs. Laurence Manning
1:00 p.m. — Varsity Boys: Carolina
2:30 p.m. — Varsity Girls: Thomas
Sumter vs. Orangeburg Prep
4 p.m. — Varsity Boys: Thomas
SHS, which travels across town today to take on the Knights in The Castle, are coming off a 63-52 loss to Lee Central. On Saturday, Sumter travels to Ridge View High in Columbia to meet Dorman, the preseason No. 1 5A team in the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association poll, at 3 p.m.
"It just seems like we ran out of gas the other night," said Jones, whose 3-1 team took a 41-38 lead into the fourth quarter. "Then we gave up 25 points and had 28 turnovers for the game. It's hard to win games when you play like that."
The holiday basketball schedule starts kicking in this weekend. Along with the Gamecocks in the Bojangles' Bash, Wilson Hall will play host to the Baron Classic at Nash Student Center, and it will include the varsity boys and girls teams from Laurence Manning Academy and Thomas Sumter Academy as well.
Expectations were high surrounding SHS entering the season. Sumter is ranked fifth in the 5A preseason poll and has two of the top players in the state, according to the SCBCA. Isiah Moore, the 6-foot-10-inch College of Charleston signee, is rated as one of the top five seniors in 5A, while 6-7 junior Calvin Felder is rated as one of the top five players in the state.
However, Sumter has struggled getting the ball inside with any consistency despite owning a decided height advantage against most opponents. Jones said there are a few things that are causing the problems.
"One thing is our young guards," said Jones, who is in his third season as head coach. "With us having lost nine seniors from last year, this is almost an entirely new team, and we're still trying to figure things out. Having Zykiem (Jackson) just getting back into shape (after breaking his collarbone playing football) has hurt us some.
"We've got to do a better job of getting the ball inside and into the low post," he added. "We're going to see zone most of the year, so we've got to handle that. We're going to have to do more slashing, more high-low and have more penetration where they dish."
Sumter has had just one good offensive game, a 73-67 win over Hartsville in its opener. It hasn't got out of the 50s in the other three.
Dorman is 5-0 going into its home game today against Nation Ford. The Cavaliers are led by Gabe Bryant, listed as one of the top five seniors in 5A. The most points Dorman has allowed is 50.
The Bojangles' Bash actually began on Thursday. Three games will be played today beginning at 6 p.m. with a whopping seven set for Saturday beginning at noon. SHS will play in the third game of the day.
Along with Wilson Hall, LMA and TSA, the Baron Classic will feature teams from Palmetto Christian, Hilton Head Christian, Carolina Academy, Orangeburg Prep and Veritas Christian.
There will be four games played in both of the gymnasiums at Nash Student Center on both today and Saturday. The first games on today will begin at 4 p.m. with the first games on Saturday set to start at 11:30 a.m.
The teams from WH and Thomas Sumter will play today in the main gym with the girls starting at 7 followed by the boys. Laurence Manning will take on Veritas Christian in the practice gym with the girls also set to start at 7.
On Saturday, Wilson Hall will meet HHC in the main gym with the starting at 2:30 p.m. LMA will face Carolina in the practice gym with the girls game beginning at 11. TSA will meet OP in the practice gym as well with the girls starting at 2:30.
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