Wednesday night was a tough one for Midlands teams in the first round of the Class 4A and 2A state boys basketball playoffs.
Lexington (4A), Ridge View (4A), Sumter (4A) and Keenan (2A) were the only area survivors.
Lexington (21-5) stumbled a bit down the stretch in the regular season, but was in command throughout last night’s 68-37 rout of visiting Beaufort. Justin Mills led the Region 5-4A champion Wildcats with 15 points, while Tradd Hunter scored nine points and freshman Shag Roland chipped in eight. Lexington hosts Hartsville, a 66-65 first-round winner vs. Wando, in a second-round game on Saturday.
Ridge View (11-13) has a second-round Saturday home date with Hillcrest. The Rams edged Greenwood 79-76 at home in the first round.
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Keenan (18-8) welcomes Pendleton to town on Saturday for a second-round 2A contest. Pendleton nipped Chesnee 73-70 in a first-round overtime thriller. The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game with 4.3 seconds to go in regulation, but saw Chesnee hit a shot at the buzzer to send the game into OT. Chesnee had a four point lead with one minute left in the extra session before Pendleton turned up the defensive heat that led to four straight steals and victory.
Wednesday was not fun for the rest of the Midlands entries in the two classifications.
Irmo, White Knoll, Dutch Fork and Richland Northeast were all expelled from the Class 4A playoffs, while Eau Claire, Newberry and Batesburg-Leesville were shown the door in 2A.
Irmo fell 69-52 at West Ashley to finish the season with a 18-7 record. The Yellow Jackets, who trailed 17-9 at the end of the first quarter and 30-23 at halftime, moved within one point midway through the third but the host Wildcats restored order with a 10-0 run. Freshman Jordan Roper led Irmo with 16 points. The star of the game was West Ashley junior D’Montre Edwards who had a double-double – 26 points, 10 rebounds.
White Knoll’s quest for a first-ever playoff win ended in frustration again. The Timberwolves, who closed at 16-10, suffered an 84-58 drubbing at the hands of Fort Dorchester in North Charleston. The third-ranked Patriots (20-0) scored the first seven points of the game and had an 18-2 lead midway through the opening quarter.
Pats junior forward R.J. Slawson had 20 points and seven blocked shots and Tim Burns tallied 19. Derek Snelgrove led WK with 14 points, Dermaine Smith tallied 12 and Eric White scored 11.
Sumter (17-6) went 8-for-16 from 3-points range in a 64-51 win against visiting Dutch Fork, which finished at 11-12. Quinn McClendon, the Region 6-4A player of the year, led the Gamecocks with 18 points, Travis Fredimon scored 14 and Khalil Malone added 12 to the cause. E.J. Mills rang up 20 for the Silver Foxes and Dontae Shuler chipped in 14.
The Gamecocks, who have won six in a row, will take on West Ashley in the second round, but a scheduling conflict with the school’s band may force Sumter to “host” the game at a neutral site.
Eau Claire went down swinging last night at Strom Thurmond. The Shamrocks puched the Region 3-2A champion Rebels into three extra periods before falling 73-61 in a game featuring two schools making their 2A playoff debuts after dropping down from 3A this season. Willie Perlotte scored 18 points and A.J. Caldwell added 12 for the Shamrocks, who finished 7-15.
Region 4-2A co-champion Central thrashed visiting Newberry 80-57. Gary Rouse scored 14 points for the Bulldogs, who ended with a 10-14 record.