Lower Richland's 6-foot-1 senior guard Preston Blackmon had a nasty collision during Friday night's overtime loss to Richland Northeast in the opening day of the Chick-fil-A Classic. With less a minute remaining, Blackmon dove for a ball and collided with an RNE player. He was cut on his left eye and was taken to the training with the Diamond Hornets leading.
He returned to the game in overtime, but his team lost.
Monday was redemption.
Blackmon scored 18 points to help Lower Richland advance in the Classic II bracket.
"I just had to go play basketball," he said, cut glued. "I feel better. I was just trying to do what I can for my team, school and the community. We got the win; a win in the Chick-fil-A Classic."
A CLOSER LOOK: Clemson men's basketball coach Oliver Purnell attended Monday's game between Union County and Keenan. He had a vested interest -- Union County center Devin Booker is a Clemson commit.
Booker, despite being double or tripled team during the game, finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.
Purnell hung around for a two more games, including Ridge View's game against Myers Park. He got a chance to see Ridge View junior 6-8 post player Mike Green, one of the top juniors in the country.
USC men's basketball coach Darrin Horn, who attended Saturday's action, was on hand for some of the mid-afternoon games. USC recruit Lakeem Jackson, a 6-5 forward who plays for Christ School, played Miller Grove at 8:30 p.m. Monday. AAU VS. HIGH SCHOOL SEASON: During high school basketball preseason, coaches spend a lot of time getting their players in game shape -- mentally and physically.
Some of the rust can be attributed to lack of playing during the summer. But Keenan coach Zach Norris particially blames AAU.
"It's hard," he said. "It has a lot to do with AAU basketball and that style of play. It takes us at least til after Christmas to where we get these kids playing. (Playing AAU) is wide open all the time. This is a thinking game. You've got to think to play this game."
COACH K SITING: Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski sat behind the Ravenscroft (N.C.) bench during its elimination game against Miller School Monday. Coach K was there to see Ravenscroft 6-5 forward/center Ryan Kelly, who has signed with the Blue Devils.
He didn't have a lot of privacy as autograph-seekers occasionally wandered over to his section. Duke assistant Chris Collins was also in attendance.
They also visited Christ School's Mason Plumlee, who also has signed with Duke. Plumlee's brother is a freshman with the Blue Devils. Christ School played Miller Grove in the 8:30 p.m. game Monday.
Coach K's No. 6 Blue Devils are coming off an 82-64 win against No. 7 Xavier Saturday.