Newberry joined Region 3 powers Keenan and Eau Claire as the only Midlands teams to survive first round testing in the Class 2A boys basketball state playoffs on Wednesday.
Newberry’s 68-45 rout of Liberty nets the Bulldogs a Saturday second-round date with top-ranked Keenan on the Raiders floor. Jalin Alexander tallied 22 points, Arkeim Young scored 14 and Kaheem Praylow contributed 12 in the easy win over Liberty that upped Newberry’s record to 13-11.
Meanwhile, Columbia and Swansea exited by way of decisive first-round losses.
Columbia lost a seed-breaking game to Eau Claire last week which relegated them to a No. 3 seed and a playoff opener on the road. The Capitals paid the price on Wednesday, losing to host Indian Land 93-77 to finish an up-and-down season with a 12-12 grade.
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The Warriors had too much scoring power for the Caps to offset. Hayden Sawyer and Terrell Rogers both rang up 31 points for Indian Land. Marcus Praylow (23 points), McArtha Thompson (22) and Justin Metze (13) led Columbia’s scoring parade.
Swansea (14-10) took an 80-42 drubbing at Woodland.
Keenan improved to 58-22 in postseason games since the start of the modern era in 1971, while archrival Eau Claire moved up to 54-27. Currently only five schools have won at least 50 state playoff games during the span. Keenan stands third on the all-time postseason win list behind Great Falls and Calhoun County.