It took awhile to get all the pieces pulling in the same direction, but the Marlboro County High basketball team seems to have it going in the right direction. At least the Bulldogs have gotten in the win column, after having several frustratingly close losses.
The Bulldogs put together back-to-back wins in the Comporium 2017 Christmas Classic at Andrew Jackson High School, winning the two-day tournament.
“I’m very proud of my team and their overall improvement. The Christmas tournament in Rock Hill allowed us to spend a lot of time together and build team cohesion,” said first-year head coach LaTroy Brace.
Although the team went 1-2 in the December 21-23 event, they built on that new-found confidence to sweep the tournament at Andrew Jackson.
The Bulldogs overpowered Chester High School in the second half in the opening round of the tournament last Friday. The Bulldogs scored 32 fourth quarter points to win 80-77.
QuanDaveon McCollough poured in 23 points to lead the Bulldogs. Sophomore guard Wesley Brown had his best night of the season so far, adding 22 points. Brown connected on four three-pointers in the game.
Forward Ryan Dupree was also in double figures with 18 points. Rictavius McInnis scored 7, Jett Herndon 6, Damien Bruce 2 and Lorenza Bostic 2.
The Bulldogs defeated York Prep, a Rock Hill area charter school, 58-48 to claim the tournament championship.
McCollough led the attack with 25 points. Dupree added 15, Bruce 8, Herndon 5, Bostic 2, Delancion Monroe 2, and McInnis 1.
In the pre-Christmas tournament at Northwestern High in Rock Hill the week before, the Bulldogs got their initial win of the season. They defeated Fundamental Prep Academy, a team from Greenville, 48-47.
They narrowly missed their first victory the night before, falling to former region rival, Crestwood, 49-48. The Bulldogs opened the tournament with a 69-53 loss to the host school, Northwestern.
The Bulldogs (3-9) will travel to Dillon Friday for a rematch with the Wildcats. Dillon defeated Marlboro 44-40 in mid-December. They will host Central of Pageland Monday and Darlington on Tuesday before starting region play next Friday. They will travel to North Myrtle Beach on January 12, then to St. James on January 17.
“We are battle tested and ready for region play. I keep telling my guys to trust the process and success will come. They’ve stayed strong and now we are reaping the benefits of hard work,” said Brace.
Region 7-4A might be up for grabs if the Bulldogs can continue their recent success. Only defending champion Wilson (6-3) has a winning record at this point.