TURBEVILLE -- East Clarendon High School’s varsity boys basketball team opened their season with a thrilling, but sloppy 39-37 victory over Lake City on Wednesday night at a jam-packed ECHS …
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TURBEVILLE -- East Clarendon High School’s varsity boys basketball team opened their season with a thrilling, but sloppy 39-37 victory over Lake City on Wednesday night at a jam-packed ECHS gymnasium.
Despite a series of missed free throws that could have altered the outcome, Lake City had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final seconds, but missed an open three-pointer and then couldn’t corral the ball as time expired.
“We played sloppy,” said East Clarendon head coach Seneca Barron. “It was first game jitters. We have a lot to improve before our region. We just have to get better daily and do the small stuff.”
Junior guard Keyon Wilson led the way for the Wolverines, scoring 10 points, while seniors Marquis Pearson and Jalen Bryant hit clutch shots down the stretch of a tense fourth quarter.
The Wolverines trailed throughout much of the game, but outscored LC 16-10 in the final frame to secure the victory.
“It shows our character,” said Barron. “We preach on playing hard regardless of what the situation is, and to just keep playing hard and live with the results at the end.”
Lake City went to halftime with a 20-14 lead, and then led 27-23 heading into the decisive fourth quarter.
Wilson made a layup to begin the quarter, cutting the Panthers lead to just two points. Senior Tyjhai Calvin tied the game with a layup in traffic a couple of minutes later, and Bryant hit the big three-pointer that finally gave East Clarendon a 32-29 lead.
The Wolverines stretched the lead to six at 38-32 before the Panthers began a furious comeback in the final two minutes with Calvin fouled out.
“Tyjhai was our emotional leader,” said Barron. “He does everything right. He’s a good student, good all around, he’s our leader. As he goes, we go.”
Trailing 38-37 with just 90 seconds remaining, Lake City junior center Justin Johnson grabbed an offensive rebound, and then went back up for an easy layup, only to watch the ball roll around the rim and fall harmlessly to the ground. The Panthers grabbed the offensive rebound again, but a travel by junior guard Malik Hailey turned the ball back over to the Wolverines.
“I’m from Lake City, and East Clarendon and Lake City is like family to me,” said Barron. “It’s always going to be a big rivalry, and that’s why I like to play them. Both teams play hard; they have a good team, we have a good team. A couple free throws, a couple hustle plays went our way and that was the difference tonight.”
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