Seventh Woods didn’t lack for motivation heading into Monday’s anticipated matchup against Keenan.
Woods, the Hammond senior, wanted to avenge last year’s overtime loss to the Raiders and felt snubbed he wasn’t selected to the McDonald’s All-American game.
The North Carolina signee went out and delivered an all-American performance, scoring 30 points and dishing out seven assists in the Skyhawks’ 68-60 win over the Raiders in the marquee game of the Crescent Construction MLK Bash at Keenan.
“Just coming out and getting this win at their place was a big statement. I know for a fact they had us circled on the calendar since the beginning of the season,” Woods said. “Not making the McDonald’s game, I tried not to get down on myself, and it just added fuel to the fire.”
The win extended Hammond’s winning streak to 34 games and gave coach Mark McClam his 100th win at the school. McClam said it was “travesty” that Woods didn’t make the McDonald’s game, and pointed to the fact how he has elevated the program to a national ranking and SCISA state title. He gave Woods a little pep talk before the game – and it worked.
Woods was more aggressive from the outset and getting to the free-throw line, where he was 11 of 11.
“We had a talk and I told him life is either half full or half empty,” said McClam. “Let’s take this as half full, get an attitude a little bit and channel this in a positive fashion instead of being upset.”
Woods helped the Skyhawks (17-0) gain momentum late in the first. He hit his third 3-pointer of the first half at the buzzer to give Hammond a 35-32 lead at the break.
Hammond followed with a 13-3 run to begin the second half to lead 48-35 with 10:54 left. The Skyhawks maintained a double-digit lead for much of the half until the Raiders made a late run behind guard Tariq Simmons.
Simmons poured in a game-high 37 points, and cut the lead to 63-57 with 59 seconds left. After a Hammond turnover, Simmons tried to get Keenan (10-7) even closer, but Hammond center Chevez Goodwin blocked his layup.
Goodwin finished with 11 points and 20 rebounds, and Michael Turner added for 13.
“This was a tremendous win for our program. Zach Norris has always had one of the best programs in Columbia, and this was our final game (this season) against a public school from Columbia,” McClam said. “I am really proud of our guys. We continue to make the challenge day in and day out. Everyone throws their best shot at us.”
Norris downplayed the significance of the game and is looking more toward region play, which continues against Mid-Carolina on Tuesday.
“A lot of our players that we depend on didn’t come to play tonight for some reason. But they are kids and will have their good days and bad days,” Norris said. “Hammond probably looks at this as a state championship, but we don’t. If they want to play again next year, we will be glad to play them. Tell them, we will come to their house.”
H: Michael Turner 13, Chevez Goodwin 11, Seventh Woods 30, Prickett 9, Yuchmow 5. K: Tariq Simmons 37, Poole 6, Marshall 9, Trapp 4, Williams 2, Osborne 2.
Spring Valley 64, Wilson 53
The Vikings guard combination of Noah Harper, DeAngelo Ward and Kendall Wall combined for 46 points in the Vikings victory.
Harper led the way with 21 points, followed by Ward (14) and Wall (11).
W: Jamal Bryant 10, Blake Walker 15, Duncan LeXander 10, Holloman 1, McKnight 4, Williams 6, Davis 3, Williamson 2. SV: Noah Harper 21, Grant 2, DeAngelo Ward 14, Kendall Wall 11, J. Bruner 7, T. Bruner 2, Myers 7.
Ridge View 65, Heathwood Hall 64
Cainan Griffin scored 19 points and hit a free throw with 1.7 seconds left to give the Blazers the win over the Highlanders.
It was Ridge View’s seventh victory by three points or less this season.
The Blazers led 64-60 with 1:01 left but the Heathwood tied it on Justice Hill’s layup with 5.7 seconds left. Hill led all scorers with 27 points.
HH: Justice Hill 27, Josh Caldwell 23, Joseph 6, Lee 6, Vaughn 2. RV: Cainan Griffin 19, Rice 9, Lamondre Corley 14, Khalil Lewis 15, Coatie 4, Fleming 2, Alewine 3
Sumter 55, Midland Valley 54
Tyliek Simon scored 15 points, including five in the final 1:59 as the Gamecocks held off the Mustangs in a matchup of state champions from last season.
Sumter led by as many as 14 points in the first half. But behind Daniel Carr, the Mustangs rallied in the second half and took a 48-46 lead on Carr’s jumper with 2:29 left. Carr finished with 22 points.
MV: Daniel Carr 22, Wade 6, M. Brown 4, Ray 6, Moroney 6, Xavier Leaphart 10. S: Tiller 3, Cedric Rembert 10, Patton 7, Tyliek Simon 15, Brunson 2, Corbett 10, Missilidne 2, Peoples 3.
Lower Richland 72, C.A. Johnson 49
Carlos Nuttry scored 15 points and Ja’Cor Nelson added 14 as the Diamond Hornets pulled away in the second half for the win.
CAJ trailed 32-23 at half but cut the lead to 44-42 with 6:55 left. LR answered with an 11-0 to put the game away.
CAJ: Butler 7, Kelley 6, Tajh Green 18, McKenney 6, Martin 8, Bowman 2, Rivers 2. LR: Ja’Cor Nelson 14, Carlos Nuttry 15, Tisdale 7, Townsend 2, Tucker 2, Trapp 6, Higgins 5, Washington 10, Jackson 6, Jones 5.