Wade Hampton’s Region 1-5A sweep of Friday night’s basketball games at Laurens District 55 High School basketball games left a bitter aftertaste.
The boys lost 53-51 and felt more than a bit miffed at what a cynic would describe as a whistle swallowing by the officials at the end, and the girls fell 49-38 when they ran out of gas after making a noteworthy comeback.
Laurens (7-8, 2-2 region) and Wade Hampton (8-4, 3-0) traded baskets all night long in the boys’ game, with the Raiders leading 14-10 after a quarter, trailing 23-22 after a half and 39-36 after three quarters. The Generals, led by Jack Edwards with 14 points and Tyler Bowens with 13, shot better (56.4 percent to 37.5), but the Raiders converted free throws at a higher rate (71.4 to 58.8) and took nine more shots mostly as a result of forcing eight more turnovers than did Wade Hampton.
Christian Anderson hit one of two free throws with 10.2 seconds left, drawing Laurens within a point. With 9.0 showing on the clock, Nick Brennegan also hit one of two for the Generals, giving the game its final score.
The free throws that weren’t shot by LDHS’s Dravious Copeland, with 1.6 seconds on the clock, kept the game from continuing into overtime. He missed a makeable shot at the basket, grabbed the rebound, and before he could get another shot off the ball squirted away and out of bounds. No foul was called, and the Generals were awarded possession.
Laurens head coach Ryan Walker’s anger wasn’t an act.
Later, he said, “I thought they (the officials) did a pretty good job. They were consistent both ways. Any coach is going to be upset at calls that don’t go his way, but I felt they made a huge mistake at the end.
“But the fact is, we’ve got to make layups, and we’ve got to make free throws. … When we give up 53 points, we’re not supposed to lose.”
Dee Foster led the Raider scoring with 14 points. Amaiji Hill added nine and Leonard Williams had seven.
For well over a quarter, the Laurens girls’ offense was missing in action. They trailed 14-12 early in the second quarter. With 5:50 left in the third, Wade Hampton (6-6, 1-2) led 30-16. At quarter’s end, it was 38-21.
Then the Raiders came alive and trimmed the deficit, once 19 points, to five with 2:52 to go in the game. The rally was breathtaking – Laurens (4-8, 1-3) forced 40 Wade Hampton turnovers, 12 of which were in the final quarter – but it ran out of gas.
“It was a great comeback,” head coach Yoneko Allen said. “We still missed a lot of easy ones, and that does deflate you a lot. I give the girls credit for playing hard and not quitting. We just have to play that way at the beginning.
“We got the shots we needed, and the defense did what they were supposed to do.”
Qua Fortson led the Raiders with 14 points. Emily Miller let the Generals with 17, and Cameron Knox added 11. Laurens put up 22 shots but connected on just seven in the final period.
Wade Hampton (49): Cameron Knox 11, Shelby Garcia 3, Stella Garcia 6, Lamia Sweet 9, Emily Rhea 1, Morgan Thoennes 1, Carmella Hawkins 1, Emily Miller 17. Field goals: 16-49. Free throws 17-38. Rebounds: 47. Turnovers: 40.
Laurens (38): Paula Abrams 2, Kenaja Burnside 4, Qua Fortson 14, Raniya Jackson 5, Lamoria Allen 5 Mikajiah Moore 3, Hannah Wiles 1. Field goals: 13-70. Free throws: 10-17. Rebounds: 43. Turnovers: 28.
Wade Hampton (53): Nick Brennegan 9, Tre Henderson 6, Tyler Bowens 13, Jack Edwards 14, Alex Weaver 3, Adrian Gleaton 2, Patrick McCarter 6. Field goals: 22-39. Free throws: 6-13. Rebounds: 25. Turnovers: 22.
Laurens (51): Dravious Copeland 4, Amaiji Hill 9, Christian Anderson 6, Leonard Williams 7, Shamare Dendy 5, Jordan Woodruff 4, Dee Foster 14. Field goals: 18-48. Free throws: 15-21. Rebounds: 26. Turnovers: 14.