Despite loss to NMB, Bulldogs claim region title
It didn't happen exactly as the Marlboro County boys hoped, but after all the results are in, the Bulldogs are the Region 6-4A champs.
The Bulldogs entered Tuesday night's regular season finale against North Myrtle Beach needing a win to lock up the title. They didn't get that but they did get a Hartsville upset of Myrtle Beach, which secured the championship.
"North Myrtle Beach played a tough, physical game tonight. They are a good team, and they gave us motivation going forward in the post season," said MCHS head coach LaTroy Brace.
"We simply just got outplayed and out-hustled. At the end of the day, we still walked away region champs. So that’s all that matters. It rained on our parade a bit but we have plans for a bigger and better parade," said Brace.
The Chiefs pulled out a 59-57 victory, scoring the winning basket with 5.8 seconds to play. The Bulldogs used two timeouts to set up a potential tying or winning shot but never managed to get off an attempt.
Marlboro County started the game with a 9-2 run to take an 11-4 lead. After Dre Scott bounced in a shot from under the basket, it appeared it might be an easy night for the Bulldogs.
However, the Chiefs heated up from long range and out-scored the Bulldogs, 12-2 to lead 16-13 at the end of the first.
Marlboro trailed by as many as eight points in the second quarter as they had trouble connecting with their jump shots. North Myrtle led 28-23 at intermission.
The Bulldogs responded with six straight points to start the second half. Scott turned a steal into a layup and Ryan Dupree scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Bulldogs a 29-29 lead.
After a Devonta Oliver three-pointer and a Wesley Brown jumper Marlboro led 34-30 but the Chiefs refused to fold.
The teams exchanged the lead five times over the final three minutes of the third quarter. A three-pointer by Shawn Lucas and a free throw by Jamiek McCoy gave the Bulldogs a 44-42 lead at the end of the period.
North Myrtle scored the first six points of the fourth period and led until Scott scored on a layup and a free throw with 1:53 to play. Scott's three-point play gave the Bulldogs a 54-53 lead.
The Chiefs quickly regained the lead and held a 57-54 advantage until Oliver drained a three-pointer to tie the contest with 42 seconds left.
North Myrtle stalled to run down the clock, then after a timeout, scored the winning goal on a layup.
Scott led the Bulldogs with 13 points. Brown and Oliver each had 12, Dupree 8, McCoy and Lucas 6.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs finish the region campaign with an 8-2 record, one game ahead of Myrtle Beach.
"I give all thanks to God. We literally went from last to first place in the region. We turned the program around in two short years. Our region record was 2-8 last year and this year we finished 8-2. Our overall record was 8-17 last year and our overall this year is 18-7. Same numbers but different result," said Brace.
The Bulldogs will have a week to prepare for their first home game in the state playoffs in four years. They will host the fourth place team in Region 4, either Lakewood or Orangeburg-Wilkinson, next Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs picked up their eighth region win last Friday, smashing Wilson, 57-25.
Marlboro County blew open a tight contest by out-scoring the Tigers 18-5 in the third quarter. The Bulldogs held their hosts to just 9 second-half points.
McCoy led the offensive attack with 15 points. Keiran Leviner added 13 and Scott 11. Brown had 7, Dupree 4, Skishawn Palmer 3, Raymond Campbell 2, and Shamar Morris 2.
Marlboro County's girls' team fell behind early to North Myrtle Beach and never could quite catch up.
The Lady Chiefs out-scored their hosts 20-10 in the first quarter and were able to milk that lead to the final buzzer.
North Myrtle led 60-48 with just over two minutes to play when the Lady Bulldogs mounted a last-ditch rally. Fueled by a pair of Jasmine Norman three-pointers and several steals, Marlboro pulled within four points with 12 seconds left.
However, the Chiefs were able to hold on and run out the clock, winning 63-58.
Norman finished with 18 points. Tysonia Lowe had 15, Kennedy Ashwood 8, Lanique James 7, Shaniya Oliver 5, and Isheondra Powell 2.
Last Friday, the Lady Bulldogs fell to the region champion Wilson Tigers, 65-47.
Lowe led with 14. Norman had 12, James 11, Ashwood 7, Montayja Isaac 2 and Serenity Brown 2.
The Lady Bulldogs finish the regular season with a 16-8 overall record, 4-6 in region contests.
The fourth place finish will have them on the road for the first round of the playoffs, traveling to the third place team in Region 5, presumably Aiken High School, Tuesday night.
Check our website, www.heraldadvocate.com, for more photos from Tuesday night’s action.