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SHS boys roll in rematch with Knights

By J. SCOTT SEWELL
jscott@theitem.com
Posted 1/11/20

Sumter High School's varsity boys basketball team improved to 10-7 on the season by completing a season sweep of Crestwood on Friday, easily beating the Knights 60-38 at the SHS gymnasium.

The Gamecocks also beat the Knights 53-42 at The Castle …

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SHS boys roll in rematch with Knights

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Sumter High School's varsity boys basketball team improved to 10-7 on the season by completing a season sweep of Crestwood on Friday, easily beating the Knights 60-38 at the SHS gymnasium.

The Gamecocks also beat the Knights 53-42 at The Castle on Dec. 6 in a much more competitive affair. Crestwood dropped to 7-8.

Sumter jumped all over the Knights early, scoring the first 10 points. The Gamecocks still led 16-6 after the first quarter and then stretched their advantage to 39-18 at the half.

Sumter used its defense to create offense and to help limit Crestwood's ability to use its full-court press

"We wanted to really defend well," said Sumter head coach Bryan Brown. "We said that they wouldn't be able to press as much if they don't score much, so we kinda used our defense to protect us from that aggressive pressure."

The Gamecocks haven't allowed a team to score 60 points or more all season long and have held seven opponents under 40.

Sophomore guard Joseph Durant and sophomore forward Nakeem Isaac scored 10 points apiece in the first half to help pace the Gamecocks. Isaac finished with 17 points.

"All of my guards played well tonight," said Brown "It's hard to pinpoint one, but Joseph Durant played some big offense and Nakeem too. I just think my core group really stepped up and played well tonight. I'm so proud of my team right now. I think this is the best we've played all year"

Junior forward Jaiven Lowery-Isaac provided the highlight of the night with a dunk in the final minutes to push the lead to 57-33. Lowery-Isaac finished with 10 points.

"I think it's just coming together," said Brown "It's time to go into region, so we're wanting to let them play a little bit more, and it looks a whole lot better so I think what we've been doing is working. I think we're peaking at the right time. We've been practicing and playing for January (and the start of play in Region IV-5A) all year and now it's time for the season to start."

On the other sideline, Crestwood head coach Aric Samuel hopes his team can learn from the loss.

"When you go on the road and you play in this kinda rivalry game you gotta come out with the right type of intensity," said Samuel. "Our starting five are seniors and I expect them to lead the way. We came out flat for the third game in a row. We have to address that. Get out to better starts, and that's the challenge right now.

"They can learn from tonight's game," continued the Knights' head coach. "I told them, we've got to play better as a team in most aspects of the game. It's not one individual player. If you play well as a team and if you play with the right effort, it's any team's night."