C.A. Johnson ran to a first-round playoff win on Thursday, defeating Wagener Salley 82-44 at home.
The Hornets, who won the Region 3-A championship the night before, showed no signs of fatigue as they played their third game of the week.
“I’m not going to lie, winning the region championship and then having to turn around and get prepared for the first playoff game, I was a little nervous about what our energy would be like,” coach Daryl Jarvis said.
“Tonight, the main key was focus and intensity. We came out with focus and a vision to win,” said senior Mike Knox, who scored 16 points.
Led by Peter Goodman, the Hornets got off to a quick start, and were up by 9 after three minutes. Smart passing and a solid transition game kept the Hornets’ offense moving. On the other end of the court, Johnson’s man-to-man defensive pressure disrupted the War Eagles’ efforts.
The Hornets were up by 21 at halftime and held Wagener Salley scoreless for nearly four minutes coming out of the break. As Johnson’s lead swelled beyond 30 points, the Hornets never let up off the throttle.
“I tell them, ‘this is why we run.’ Our legs are great, and conditioning is just the key, especially deep in the playoffs, and as many guys as we have, we can get guys in and get guys out,” said Jarvis, who sat his starters after the third quarter.
Goodman finished with 22 points to lead the game.
“Winning region was our goal, and now we know we have a shot at state as long as we do what we do. It’s kind of like clockwork now. It’s just another notch and now we’ve got three or four more steps to go,” Jarvis said.
Johnson will play host to Saturday’s second-round game.
The Hornets girls will go on the road for the second round, after topping Blackville-Hilda, 47-31. Johnsons’ girls had a 10-point lead to start final period, but allowed the Hawks to come within three points early in the period. Led by Ilyssa Booker and Demeatrius Bryant, Johnson tightened its defense and regained its double-digit lead with less than three minutes to play.