After a dominating first half in which it took a 44-16 lead into the locker room, the Sumter High School varsity boys basketball team had a less-than-inspiring third quarter against West Florence. The Gamecocks scored just eight points.
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Even though SHS went on to a 70-40 victory on Friday at the SHS gymnasium, and head coach Shawn Jones understood the rreason for the lackluster play coming out of the locker room, he wants his team to be able to look beyond just the moment at hand.
"We came out a little flat in the third quarter because we knew we had the game in hand," Jones said. "It isn't just about us winning this game though; it's about us getting better."
Sumter, which improved to 13-7 overall and 6-1 in Region VI-5A to maintain at least a share of first place. couldn't do much better than it did in the first half. The Gamecocks dominated the Knights, who fell to 10-9 overall and 2-4 in region play, in all facets of the game - offensively, defensively and on the boards.
"That was one of the better halves of basketball we've played this season," Jones said. "I think we're getting more confident shooting the ball, and I think we did a really good job defensively."
With the likes of 6-foot-9-inch Isiah Moore and 6-8 Calvin Felder around the basket, SHS was much, much taller than WF. While West Florence was able to get to the basket, it was very seldom it got off an uncontested shot.
Sumter scored the game's first nine points and pushed the lead to as many as 17 in the first quarter. The Gamecocks led 21-6 after one quarter.
SHS continued to pour it on in the second quarter. It outscored the Knights 23-10 to take the 28-point lead at halftime. Moore was the offensive catalyst, scoring 22 first-half points, 11 in each quarter.
Moore finished with 29 points, and he was getting points from all over the floor. He hit on 14 of 15 free throws, drained a 3-point shot, and get several baskets down low, including four dunks.
"His future is so bright," Jones said of Moore, who has signed to play collegiately with College of Charleston. "I really think the sky is the limit for him. He is only going to get better as he gets stronger."
In the third quarter, West Florence seemed to be a step quicker than the Gamecocks. However, the Knights were never able to get any closer than 21 and SHS led 52-28 going into the fourth quarter.
Omar Croskey added 16 points for the Gamecocks, while Jaylen Johnson had nine. Derrion Lloyd led the Knights with eight, while Sharrod Simmons and Jarrod Woodland both had seven.
Sumter is on the road twice next week, playing at South Florence on Tuesday before traveling Myrtle Beach to take on Socastee on Friday.
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