High School Sports

Playoffs: 5 Midlands boys teams to watch

Irmo head coach Tim Whipple addresses his players before the game between Orangeburg-Wilkinson and Irmo.
Irmo head coach Tim Whipple addresses his players before the game between Orangeburg-Wilkinson and Irmo.

Irmo

Coach Tim Whipple has been at this a long time, and the Yellow Jackets haven't been to a state final since 1996. Irmo will pose matchup problems for a lot of teams because it uses five guards most of the time. So an opponent with a strong post presence could pose a problem for the Jackets. Irmo has little depth, so it will need to avoid foul trouble. Point guard Jordan Roper seldom takes a breather.

Lexington

Bailey Harris is another coach who has been around for a while, and he hopes the Wildcats can improve on last year's first-round exit. Lexington plays well fundamentally, but outside of a few players probably will not be as athletic as any team it faces. But solid shooting and full-court pressure defense make it difficult for opponents to find their rhythm offensively. Shaq Roland has the ability to carry Lexington far.

Dreher

As long as the Blue Devils keep winning, they could play three games at home. They haven't lost in 2010 and played well in the Chick-fil-A Classic to provide the confidence boost they are riding now. They are big, can run the floor and might be the best shooting team in Class 3A. Dreher has underachieved the past two years, but this is a team that could make a visit to Colonial Life Arena.

Lower Richland

The Diamonds will be home for the first two rounds of the playoffs, and any team that has played in the Diamond Mine knows how hard it is to win there. The third round could bring a matchup on the road against Greer, last year's runner-up that returned nearly everyone off that team. If Lower Richland can find a way to make outside shots, the Diamonds could make a deep run in the Class 3A playoffs.

Keenan

The Raiders have been eliminated the past two years by Southside, the two-time defending Class 2A champions. Keenan would not have to face Southside until the upper state final so a rematch could be possible. The Raiders always play tough defense under Zack Norris so if they find a way to get points from a number of people, they will be a tough out. A tough early season schedule has Keenan prepared for the postseason.

- Chris Dearing

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