The environs were different, but the results remained the same.
This Friday the raucous home students, at Laurens District High School, wore pajamas. A week earlier, at Clinton High School, the garb was black to raise money for cancer.
But the Raiders won the boys’ basketball game, 70-60, and the Red Devils won the girls’ game, 54-42. Same time, different week.
Christian Anderson scored 23 points to lead Laurens (4-4) to a victory that was almost wire-to-wire. Amaiji Hill added 14, Dee Foster 13 and Dravious Copeland 12. LDHS led 16-10 after a quarter, 32-27 after a half and 53-40 after three quarters.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the frantic Red Devils whittled the Raider edge down to four points, but while the Clinton (0-4) guns were blazing, there weren’t enough of them. Amari Bates scored 27, J.D. Payne added 21, and the rest of the Red Devil roster had to divvy up the remaining 12.
“I think we built some confidence,” LDHS head coach Ryan Walker. “You can throw records out the window for the Clinton game whether it’s here or there. It’s always going to be close, always going to be a battle, and that’s what our guys needed, especially in our region. Building that fourth-quarter confidence is something we’ve lacked. In three of our (four) losses, we’ve had leads in the fourth quarter with less than three minutes to go. We were able to hold it tonight. We didn’t fold. It’s a step in the right direction of learning how to get things done.”
Eddie Romines doesn’t think victories are too far ahead for his Red Devils, who are playing a little hurt and a little top-heavy in the scoring department.
“My kids played hard,” he said. “We got down 15 points in the third quarter, made a run and I’m proud of them for their effort. I told them before the game that it was going to take courage, and they showed courage.
“We’ve got to improve defensively. We’re not as healthy as we’re going to be. When we get a little more depth, and when we get Konnor Richardson inside, we’ll be better, but the kids we put on the floor played hard and did their best, and that’s all I can ask.”
The difference in the girls’ game was the final minute of the second quarter and the first half of the third.
Savanna Campbell’s only basket of the game, a three-pointer at the first-half buzzer, hiked the Clinton (7-0) lead to seven (26-19), and the Red Devils kept on swishing in the third quarter as their lead grew to 20. Terriauna Bennett led the way with 22 points, while Qua Fortson was scoring 14 for Laurens (1-5).
Like Romines, losing coach Yoneko Allen saw some progress in defeat.
“The third quarter was a real killer,” she said. “We made some improvements and adjustments. We fixed some things we’ve been trying to fix, but we can’t have so many defensive lapses, and we’ve got to zone in mentally.”
CLINTON (54): Taneal Evans 8, Dana Kinard 5, Savanna Campbell 3, De’Shanti Watts 6, Payton Walker-Price 2, Terriauna Bennett 22, Tinique Austin 8. Field goals: 19-50. Rebounds: 48. Turnovers: 27.
LAURENS (42): Kenaja Burnside 6, Qua Fortson 14, Raniya Jackson 8, Nadia Anderson 2, Lamoria Allen 3, Diamond Pressley 3, Aija Davis 2, Hannah Wiles 4. Field goals: 15-62. Rebounds: 36. Turnovers 18.
CLINTON (60): J.D. Payne 21, Amari Bates 27, P.J. Bluford 7, Davis Wilson 2, Sam Tiller 2, Danny Kinard 1. Field goals 24-54. Free throws: 14-19. Rebounds: 34. Turnovers: 10.
LAURENS (70): Dravious Copeland 12, Amaiji Hill 14, Christian Anderson 23, J’Van Harris 2, Leonard Williams 2, Jordan Woodruff 4, Dee Foster 13. Field goals: 24-50. Free throws: 17-30. Rebounds: 33. Turnovers: 15.