Irmo picked a great time to play one of its best quarters of the season.
The Yellow Jackets’ offensive explosion in the second quarter propelled them to a 62-44 victory over Fort Mill in the first round of the Class 5A boys basketball playoffs Wednesday night. The Yellow Jackets will travel to Dorman on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s title game won by the Cavaliers.
Irmo knew it had to make Fort Mill (20-6) play at a slower pace than its was accustomed to. Fort Mill came in averaging nearly 75 points per game but Irmo’s defensive effort was there as much as the offensive outburst in the first half.
Irmo held the visitors to 2-of-14 shooting in the first quarter to build a 9-5 lead. But it was the way they shot the ball in the second quarter that gave the Yellow Jackets a comfortable working margin.
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Led by Bostun Rivers, who finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, Irmo shot 12-of-16 in the second quarter. They were able to collect offensive rebounds on two of the misses and score on stick-backs. That helped them to a 35-21 lead at the half.
”Overall, that was our best offensive quarter of the year,” Whipple said. “It helped us being able to get a lot of looks around the rim. With the way they defended, we were able to exploit that. It’s extremely helpful to get a lot of easy baskets.
”This was one of our best offensive games but that is a tremendous offensive team and defensively, especially in the first half, we did an unbelievable job of holding them in check.”
Rivers had 14 of his 21 points in the first half with nearly all of them coming from the paint.
”My teammates did a good job of finding me when I was open,” Rivers said. “They ran a 2-2-1 (zone) and the back man was of slow getting over a couple times and that really helped me.”
The Irmo lead grew to as much as 17 points in the third quarter but Fort Mill made a final run.
Jacobi Wright, who had 19 points for Fort Mill, spearheaded a 12-3 run at the end of the third quarter to make it 43-35 going into the final eight minutes.
But two huge three’s by Irmo helped keep the momentum on the home team’s side. Trevez Caldwell hit the first from the top of the key for the only points during that 12-3 closing run. Caldwell finished with 16 points.
The lead was at eight, 45-37, with about six minutes to go when freshman Dylan Williams, who had 15 points and five assists, connected on a 3-pointer from the corner. The lead was never less than nine points the rest of the way.
”Those two shots were huge,” Whipple said. “They were three’s and it helped stop those runs Fort Mill was on. The momentum was changing, so to make those two baskets were huge.”
FM - Jacobi Wright 19, Will Ross 12, Morton 4, Mims 4, Saunders 3, Darby 2. I - Bostun Rivers 21, Trevez Caldwell 16, Dylan Williams 15, Readus 5, Washington 2, Forest 2, Bing 1.