PREP BASKETBALL

Sumter boys hoops team misses out on 5A playoffs

By DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 2/9/19

The season came to a premature end for the Sumter High School varsity boys basketball team as it did not earn an at-large berth in the 5A state playoffs.

The Gamecocks could have secured a spot in …

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PREP BASKETBALL

Sumter boys hoops team misses out on 5A playoffs

Posted

The season came to a premature end for the Sumter High School varsity boys basketball team as it did not earn an at-large berth in the 5A state playoffs.

The Gamecocks could have secured a spot in the 5A state playoffs with a win over Irmo on Friday at the SHS gymnasium. However, they lost to the Yellow Jackets 60-47.

"I thought we had a pretty good chance to get the at-large," said Sumter head coach Shawn Jones, whose team finished the year with an 11-13 overall record and a 3-5 Region IV mark. "We had as many wins as Byrnes (which received the at-large bid), but they won more region games even though they played more. It's disappointing, but it is what it is.

Only the top three teams from Region IV earn spots. If Sumter had won on Friday, it and Irmo would have both been 4-4. SHS would have gotten third because it would have swept the Jackets.

Sumter played the entire season without point guard Tyree Small and played the last half of the season without Boston College signee Calvin Felder and Eric Watts. The 6-foot-8-inch Felder was lost to an injury and the 6-6 Watts graduated early after signing to play football with Connecticut.

"We really missed having Tyree at point guard," Jones said. "He was the leader of our team. We had to start a sophomore (Marcus Lane), and he did a good job. But Tyree did a great job running our offense.

Then we lose Calvin's offense and defense, and Eric we were going to use him inside for his defense and shot blocking, like Calvin."

It took over three minutes for either team to score with Irmo's CJ Washington finally breaking the ice at the 4:49 mark of the first quarter.

The Jackets, who improved to 16-9 overall and 5-3 in the region, led 12-6 after one quarter. Sumter got the first five points of the second quarter on a slam dunk from Omar Croskey and a 3-point basket by Kwaleek Jones to make it 12-11 with 7:08 remaining in the first half.

Then the SHS offense became very, very stagnant. The Gamecocks were outscored 20-6 over the remainder of the half, trailing 32-17 at the break.

"We're just not a very good jump shooting team," Jones said. "We've struggled with that all year. But it was a very uneven game. There was no flow to the game at all."

Sumter couldn't make much of a dent in the deficit in the third quarter. It pulled within 10, 40-30, only to see Irmo score the next five points. The Yellow Jackets led 47-34 entering the final stanza.

The Gamecocks scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to single digits. A 6-0 run ended by a Croskey jumper cut the lead to 51-45 with 2:31 remaining. However, Sumter could get no closer.

Croskey led the Gamecocks with 13 points. Joseph Durant added eight and Cody McCoy finished with six.

Dylan Williams led Irmo with 18 points. Washington finished with 13.

In the girls contest, Sumter concluded its regular season with a 51-36 victory to improve to 21-3 overall and finish second in region play with a 6-2 record.

Ki'Ari Cain and Layken Cox led the Lady Gamecocks with 13 points apiece. CeCe Wells added nine, and Tamerah Brown had eight.

Maliyah Mason led Irmo, 14-11 and 3-5, with 11 points.

The Sumter girls will be at home on Tuesday in the first round of the playoffs against Rock Hill, the No. 3 team from Region III. The game will start at 6:30 p.m.