AC Flora knocks off LE in first round plus playoffs at a glance
On Wednesday night in Forest Acres, the AC Flora Falcons used defense and and quickness to run by the Lugoff-Elgin Demons 67-52. In the first round of the 4A basketball playoffs, the 6th ranked Falcons only trailed once and that was after the first basket of the game. They then jumped out to a 17-2 deficit in which they never looked back. For LE this was the programs first playoff game since 2010. And unfortunately for them, they ran into a much more experienced Falcon squad that has been in this spot before.
The Falcons are just a few years removed from back to back state title appearances and a squad that’s usually making a run to 2nd or 3rd round at the very least. Coach Garrett Knight of Lugoff-Elgin knew exactly why his Demons struggled tonight. “That was what championship basketball looks like. We can practice for a lot of things, but those guys just get after it with a fire and tenacity. They just killed in the half court with the man to man pressure and turnovers.” The turnovers were a big issue. At one point in the third quarter, the Demons had nearly as many turnovers (25) as points (26). For AC Flora Coach Joshua Staley, it was an all business approach and he even respected his opponent coming in. “We were extremely LE. We knew they were a good team and not a typical 4 seed. They had good guards and we just wanted to try our best to keep them uncomfortable as much as possible.”
It was a 37-15 halftime score as the Falcons got 18 points combined in the first 16 minutes from their two All-State selections DJ Sinkler and Zack Foulks. Both would finish with 15 for the game. This is a strong group for Flora that is deep, disciplined and just athletic from top to bottom. “I trust every last player on this team.” Staley said of his team. “We started this process in the summer. These guys work their butts off. I think it was so important to get out early on them. We were fortunate there and I didn’t really anticipate that.”
LE would make the score respectable in the fourth quarter outscoring Flora 23-14. One of the five seniors for the Demons, Arturo Sealy led all scorers with 20 and did his best to bring his team back one final time under the lights. Garrett Knight on his seniors calling it a career at LE. “I thanked all the seniors. Credit to them, they just kept battling back all night and didn’t quit. We will miss them dearly, but we told the young guys. Your season sounds tomorrow. Our JV team went undefeated and we gotta get right back at it.” Demons finish the year at 16-8. Flora is now 17-6.
So AC Flora gets the win and they now advance and will host Stall this coming Saturday at 7 pm.
This week at a glance in high school hoops.
Wednesday night the defending champs in 4A boys went down as Lower Richland lost to Hartsville 51-38. Having seen both teams myself, I can tell you that this was not much of a surprise to me. The Red Foxes are getting hot at the right time.
Additionally, they are led by one of the top juniors in the state in Trae Hannibal. His stock has been rising since the preseason tournaments. Another one of the top juniors also played in this game. Lower Richland’s Christian Brown had a solid season, but was out a handful of games due to injury. Hopefully he will bounce back and have a great senior campaign.
Also on Wednesday, 5A boys kicked off the first round with Blythewood defeating Fort Dorchester 77-44. Most folks think it could be a rematch of last years final between Blythewood and Dorman.
River Bluff knocked off Conway 49-62
Summerville over Dutch Fork 72-54
Irmo got a win over Wando 59-34
West Ashley eliminated Lexington 58-43
Spring Valley advances over West Florence 67-52
In 4A competition Lakewood beat Dreher 60-45. Watch out for the Gators saw them last week. They are a complete, and well coached team. They could possibly make a run if they’re shooters get going.
n 2A Keenan beat Cheraw 85-71. Gray Collegiate took care of North Central 83-44 and Lee Central all over Eau Claire 82-43.
Tonight on Thursday there will be 3A girls action as Columbia travels to Newberry, Walhalla goes to Fairfield Central and Brookland-Cayce is at Bishop England.
Coming up on Friday, the Camden boys basketball team will host Clinton in the 2nd round. I think this Camden Bulldog team could possibly make a run to Upper State. They have 3 senior guards who are shooting the ball really well. And Coach Ron Mckie always has his teams playing good defense late in season.
Also on Friday its the second round of 4A girls as Westwood travels to Greenville, and Richland Northeast hosts Travelers Rest. In the Lower state bracket, The Lady Falcons of AC Flora go to Stall while Wilson is at Lower Richland
There is also a ton of action on Saturday. For a complete bracket of match ups and times check out schsl.org