For the second time this season, the Sumter boys basketball team has edged Lakewood by the skin of its' teeth.
During their first matchup, the Gamecocks used a last second three-pointer to edge …
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During their first matchup, the Gamecocks used a last second three-pointer to edge their cross town rival. This time, a last second putback by Jaiven Lowery-Isaac lifted Sumter to a 38-37 win.
Scoring was at a premium all night long. Sumter's zone defense slowed down Lakewood and forced the Gators to take a patient approach. Patience from Lakewood meant long possessions, which led to Sumter forcing the issue as soon as they got the ball in their hands. The result was not a lot of offense.
Sumter and Lakewood combined for just 12 points in the first quarter, as the two teams were locked in a tie at six. The second quarter picked up a bit, with the two teams trading small bursts of scoring. A late putback by Justus Boone helped Sumter carry a meager 18-17 lead into the half.
The game remained tight for most of the third quarter, but Lakewood's Quentin Hodge was able to break through late. Hodge finished the third quarter scoring all but three of the points scored by either team in the final two minutes and change. Those other three points came from a triple from his teammate, Kvon Selve, as Lakewood went into the fourth leading 27-24. Hodge then opened the fourth with Lakewood's first six points of the fourth, scoring a total of 10 points roughly three and a half minutes to put the Gators in front 33-26.
Unfortunately for Lakewood, they fell back to earth after that. In just over three minutes, Sumter had whittled the Gators lead down to a single point after four straight points from Joseph Durant. Hodge was able to respond with a pair of free throws to push the lead back to three, but another bucket by Durant put the deficit back at one. The clock wound down to 35 second when Hodge stepped to the free throw line with a chance to ice the game with a pair of free throws. Luckily for Sumter, the senior star buckled at the line, missing both attempts.
That left the door open for Sumter, who missed their initial game-winning attempt on the ensuing drive. That's when Lowery-Issac stepped up, grabbing the offensive rebound and putting up a quick shot. The putback fell in with six seconds left to put Sumter ahead 38-37. Lakewood had a chance to respond, but couldn't hit a baseline jumper for their own game-winning, giving the Gamecocks their second last-minute win over their cross-town rival.
"Credit to my guys for having the guts to go out there and finish a rival game after back to back games," said Sumter head coach Bryan Brown, who was coaching against his former team for the second time this season. "We just gotta continue to find ways to execute with the young guys that we have. I'm just extremely proud of the effort that they gave."
For Lakewood, it would be easy to be frustrated by a second narrow loss to a rival, but head coach Ed Scott says it's all part of the process.
"It's not frustrating, it's a part of the process. We just have to learn how to win," said Scott. "With such an inexperienced team, we do have five or six seniors on the team, but we're still inexperienced. The only player that got valuable varsity minutes last year was Quentin Hodge and Jaqcorey (Melton) got a little bit, so we're still learning how to win."
Hodge led all scorers with 15 points, while Selph added eight and Melton chipped in with six for the Gators. Sumter was led by nine points from Justus Boone, while Durant scored seven and Marcus Lane and Nakeem Isaac each added six.
Next up for Sumter is a matchup with South Florence on Tuesday. Lakewood is off until a rematch with the Gamecocks next Monday.
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