High School Sports

Keenan delivers playoff romp

Keenan's postseason mastery of early round opposition continued at The Cove on Wednesday.

Zach Norris' Raiders (17-8) opened the Class 2A state basketball playoffs with a 70-28 thrashing of overmatched Batesburg-Leesville.

It was Keenan's 12th first-round win in a row.

"It's a blessing having these early games at home because when you go on the road in the playoffs anything can happen," Norris said.

"That's why we work so hard to win our region every year, so we can get out feet on the ground at the start of the playoffs at home."

It has not been an easy season for Norris, who had to shuffle his lineup throughout the first two months of the season while dealing with a injuries and disciplinary issues.

"It's been a challenge, but now we have the pieces back in place and we developed enough depth that we can play 10 to 12 kids every game and not lose much," the Raiders coach said.

"That depth is key because of the style we like to play. Tonight we did an excellent job on defense. That's our game."

Keenan's relentless pressure resulted in 32 Batesburg-Leesville turnovers. The visiting Panthers never scored more than nine points in any quarter, and managed 12 points in the second half.

Seniors Bradley Smith, who returned to the lineup three weeks ago, and Dennis Rowe were the Raider headliners. Smith scored a game high 24 points while Rowe fired in 17.

Keenan enjoyed a huge rebounding edge, especially off the offensive glass, and its defensive pressure helped create a 68-41 advantage in field goal attempts. The Raiders converted 25 of those shots from the field, and went 12-for-18 at the free-throw line.

Eddie Quattlebaum was B-L's leading scorer with 8 points, and center Antonio Butler played well inside with six points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Panthers (10-13).

The Raiders, who will have home-court advantage all the way through the Upper State finals, will face either Walhalla or Broome in second-round action Saturday.

This was the 53rd win for the Raiders in postseason play. Only Calhoun County and Great Falls have more playoff triumphs on the books since Keenan opened in 1970-71.

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BL: Langford 3, Bryant 3, Leaphart 2, Adams 2, West 2, Quattlebaum 8, Butler 6, Mack 2. K: M. Stroman 4 Spencer 3, Washington 5, Morgan 2, Bradley Smith 24, Dennis Rowe 17, Curenton 3, Reed 6, Green 4, Johnson 2, Barnes 2.

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