The Laurens Raiders played generally inspired basketball on Senior Night, Tuesday, against T.L. Hanna.
They also lost. Bummer.
The Yellow Jackets won the boys’ game 58-54 and the girls’ game 56-37. Boys’ coach Ryan Walker was pleased with the effort, and the girls’ Yoneko Allen thought the team played about as well as it could play.
Dee Foster carried the boys with a 27-point performance, but Hanna (17-7, 9-3 Region 1-5A) maintained the lead from the early going right to the end. Laurens (10-15, 5-8) whittled down a 16-point Yellow Jacket lead to three points in the fourth quarter but could draw no closer.
Avery Jones led Hanna with 17 points and hit four free throws in the final 31.8 seconds to thwart the Raiders’ frantic pressing.
Hanna led 12-5 after a quarter and 29-19 at half.
Laurens must win at Greenwood on Friday in order to secure the fifth and final Region 1 spot in the post-season.
“That’s the way it is,” Walker said. “We put ourselves in this position.”
The Raiders have been in most of their games. They have competed with strong teams. They just haven’t beaten many.
“We played about the ugliest first half of basketball you can imagine,” Walker said. “We couldn’t make anything. We battled and played through mistakes. In the second half, we kind of got moving.
“We made some plays. Our guys battled. We’ve just got of figure out a way to get over the hump.”
The Laurens girls have no such pressure regarding a playoff spot. Keeping the margin under 20 against Hanna (17-5, 9-3) was deemed something of an accomplishment by Coach Allen.
The Yellow Jackets just gradually drew away: 12-7 after a quarter, 22-12 at half and 38-17 after three quarters. Qua Fortson scored 10 points in spite of missing a goodly portion of the game on the bench with foul problems. Laurens (6-17, 2-11) shot 32.4 percent from the field. Hanna took 17 more shots and hit 11 more.
“Early in the season, I thought, once those shots start falling, we’ll be in there,” Allen said. “But we could never get in the swing of things. A lot of it has to do with being young.
“I think we gave one of our better efforts.”
T.L. HANNA (56): DeAsia Marshall 8, Leah Dotson 2, Carmen Chandler 9, Azariah Thomas 5, Shonte Jones 1, Alexis Glover 3, Maleia Bracone 21, Dro Lee 7. Field goals: 23-54. Free throws 9-15. Rebounds: 32. Turnovers: 23.
LAURENS (37): Kenaja Burnside 9, Qua Fortson 10, Raniya Jackson 5, Nadia Anderson 4, Lamoria Allen 3, Mikajiah Moore 4, Precious Grant 2. Field goals: 12-37. Free throws: 9-17. Rebounds: 26. Turnovers: 26.
T.L. HANNA (58): Preston Pettway 6, Isaiah Harris 6, Trey Hall 2, James Lovorn 6, Avery Jones 17, Ja’hiem Hardy 3, Noa Glover 10, Romaine Henderson 2, John Haddock Rogers 6. Field goals: 21-45. Free throws: 9-12. Rebounds: 29. Turnovers: 17.
LAUREN (54): Dravious Copeland 12, Christian Anderson 7, J’Von Harris 8, Dee Foster 27. Field goals: 20-43. Free throws: 4-5. Rebounds: 23. Turnovers: 15.