The game between Lower Richland and A.C. Flora was supposed to be about Christian Brown’s return to his old stomping grounds.
But with Brown still recovering from a concussion, his old team A.C. Flora took advantage and won its second consecutive Region 5-4A game with a 53-45 win against the Diamond Hornets.
“Going in, we didn’t know if we was going to play or not, but we were treating it as another game,” A.C. Flora senior Diamante Brown said. “We wanted to beat LR so we could start off 2-0 in the region.”
Christian Brown has been out of action since suffering a concussion on what LR coach Caleb Gaither called a fluke incident in which he was hit in the head by a ball during a Christmas tournament. Brown, who wasn’t in attendance, hasn’t been cleared to practice yet, and Gaither hopes to have him back in a couple of weeks.
Brown should be back for the rematch at Lower Richland on Feb. 2.
The A.C. Flora student section didn’t let Brown’s absence go unnoticed, chanting “Y’all need Christian” late in the fourth quarter.
“Christian can really score and bring that energy,” Gaither said. “But we are still a really, really good team without him and could have easily won the game tonight. But we failed in the execution department and kind of waited too late. We need to bring that desperation from the tip.”
A.C. Flora (11-5, 2-0) never trailed and led 45-36 with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter.
Lower Richland cut the lead to 49-45 with 36 seconds left and had possession after a Falcon offensive foul. The Diamond Hornets missed a good look at a layup and Flora iced the game at the free-throw line.
“We knew Lower Richland was going to play hard. Coach Gaither and his staff do a great job, so we knew they weren’t going to lay down,” A.C. Flora coach Joshua Staley said. “I like how hard we play and that we continue to grow. We’ve got a bunch of tremendous young men that are going to go to school and play. I am really happy about this team.”
R.J. Mobley scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half to lead A.C. Flora. Diamante Brown added 10, including a thunderous dunk in the fourth quarter to put the Falcons up 49-42.
“These days, you don’t need a star player to win,” Brown said. “All you need is good chemistry and there you go.”
Korey Richardson led Lower Richland (8-10, 2-1) with 17 points.
LR: Tatum 2, Higgins 8, Rice 2, Scott 2, Flood 4, Hughes 8, Richardson 17, Hicks 2. ACF: Jamison 3, Sinkler 4, D. Brown 10, Foulks 7, Mobley 12, Riley 5, Boyce 2, Finney 6, McCray 4.
Lower Richland 70, A.C. Flora 51
LR: S. Washington 2, J. Canty 7, Ireona Brooks 21, Zhayla Adams 19, L. Smith 9, Anala Nelson 10, D. Kelly 2. ACF: D. Williams 7, M. Sumpter 10, F. Adeojo 2, J. Strange 18, C. Sessions 14