MCHS cruises to first round win, faces Darlington Sat.
For the first time in five years, the Marlboro County High boys’ basketball team will be moving past the first round of the state playoffs. The Bulldogs used a terrific first half to blow by Orangeburg-Wilkinson, 62-50, Wednesday night at the Dawg House.
“I’m very happy to get that first playoff win. I’m happy for the kids who have worked so hard to bring the program back and I’m happy for the community which has been so supportive,” said MCHS head coach LaTroy Brace after the final buzzer.
The Bulldogs used a suffocating defense in the first half to frustrate their guests, who managed just five points in each of the first two quarters. The Bulldogs used a full court press, falling back into an active 2-3 zone.
“It really made them (O-W) work to get the ball across half court and then made them make smart passes to get open shots. It worked well as they seldom got open looks,” said Brace, who is in his third year as the Bulldogs’ head coach.
After the Bruins hit a three-point shot to take a 2-3 lead, the Bulldogs went on a 14-2 run to finish the first quarter. Junior Dre Scott scored back-to-back baskets in the lane to start the rally. After Jamiek McCoy hit a pair of free throws, Wesley Brown added a free throw and a three-point bomb. Scott scored on a drive right before the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 16-5 lead.
The Bruins’ frustration mounted in the second quarter, as more possessions ended in a turnover than did with a shot.
Keiran Leviner opened the second quarter with a three-pointer for the Bulldogs. Scott added back-to-back baskets, the second on an assist from forward Ryan Dupree. Tyler Thomas hit a three-pointer and Brown wrapped up the half with a pair of free throws, giving the Bulldogs a 34-10 lead.
Dupree scored from close range to start the third quarter but then the Bulldogs went cold. They would manage just five more points in the quarter, with reserves playing the final six minutes of the period. The Bruins began to claw back into the game, cutting the Bulldog lead to 15 by the end of the quarter.
“It is something that we have struggled with during the season. If we get a comfortable lead, we tend to loose focus and let our opponents creep back into the game. We will continue to work on that in practice,” said Brace.
Devonta Oliver got the Bulldogs back in gear, hitting a three-pointer to start the fourth quarter. O-W stayed in striking range by hitting several jumpers before Marlboro was able to put the game away. Brown scored on a slam, then Oliver scored after a steal.
After a basket by the Bruins, McCoy was fouled as he brought the ball up court. The referee’s call prompted a response by the O-W bench that resulted in a technical foul being called. McCoy stepped up to the line and swished four foul shots, which pushed the lead back to 18 points with 2:59 to play, basically sealing the game.
The Bruins were able to make the score more respectable by hitting several shots in the final minute.
Scott led the Bulldogs with 14. Oliver chipped in 13 and Brown 10. McCoy had 8, Leviner 6, Thomas 5, Dupree 2, Quatrice Bostic 2 and Keyon Adams 2.
Marlboro County will host Darlington Saturday night. The Falcons defeated Brookland-Cayce, 58-56 in overtime Wednesday night to advance. The Bulldogs have defeated Darlington twice this season in region play.
“Things will get more serious from here. We hope to have a full house for Saturday’s game and turn up the intensity,” said Brace.
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