Ben Lippen’s annual New Year’s Blast basketball tournament starts Friday, and continues on Saturday. The Falcons boys and girls meet Trinity Collegiate from Florence in first round games. The boys contest starts at 5 p.m. with the girls to follow at 6:30 p.m.
BL (6-5) capped a busy first month of the regular season with a strong finish at the Sumter District 9 Officials Tournament, beating public-school entries East Clarendon (69-49) and Manning (70-56) on Saturday after dropped decisions to tough Crestwood (75-60) and Lee Central (55-45) on the first day of play on Friday.
Andre Hennie had 20 points, two assists, five rebounds and shot 50% from the floor (8-for-16) vs. East Clarendon. Chad Burnett canned 6 of 8 field goal attempts on the way to a 16-point game, and Mitchell Deter added 12 points to the cause.
The Falcons jumped out to a 33-22 lead at halftime vs. Manning, and put it away in the final eight minutes after the Monarchs made a bit of a run in the third quarter. Hennie had 20 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the floor and an 8-for-11 showing at the free-throw line, but Deter took team scoring honors with 21. Zach Burnett chipped in 12 points, three assists and three rounds, Gabe Smith had eight points and eight boards and Mic Shoemaker had five assists.
Hennie averaged 18.8 points at the tournament, allowing him to take over the team scoring lead for the season from Deter. Hennie is averaging 16.7 points4.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals a game. Deter is averaging 16.5 points, 2.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds. Burnett is next on the scoring charts at 6.3 ppg. Smith boasts a team-high 7.0 rebound average.