Gray Collegiate handles St. Joes – high school basketball playoff schedule
Saturday night in Columbia, the Gray Collegiate War Eagles handled business in the second round of the 2A state basketball playoffs. On the campus of Allen University, the War Eagles had no trouble with St.Joseph’s Catholic winning 83-31. You could see from just warm ups that Gray would was going to be a considerable size, and athletic advantage over the Knights from Greenville.
Coach Dion Bethea of Gray Collegiate Academy was modest after the win saying that there is still better ball to be played. “We are figuring it out. I think we have a lot of great basketball to play ahead of us. Every game we just keep getting better. We are playing together. We shared the basketball, and defended. So that was real key tonight.” The War Eagles wasted no time in jumping out to a huge lead. They started scoring the first 21 points before St.Joe’s finally got on the board with 2:40 left in the first quarter. And even after the first eight minutes played, it was 27-8. The home team used some press man defense and stimied the opposition forcing them to make mistakes and force contested shots.
“I just told them to stop gambling.” Bethea said of the defense. ” We know that they are a good shooting team. It was a matter of time before they started making a few there. But once we started to stop the ball up front around mid court, it made things that much easier on us.” Easy is one word to describe this night. The War Eagles shot an extremely high percentage from the field including from beyond the arc as Jalil Robinson drained a trifecta of three pointers in the first half. The backup point guard would hit two more from long range and end the night with 21 points. It was a much needed boost because missing in action was Khalil Robinson, so somebody needed to step up. “Our point guard Khalil Robinson is out right now so its next man up. Jalil stepped up on the scoring end for us tonight. Really excited for him because he’s worked really hard. ”
With a halftime score of 48-13, Gray continued to play their game of and not force anything. Bethea on what he told them at halftime. “Even when we were up big I just told them that this is preparation for the next game. Every game moving forward is important for us. Every game is a total team effort for us.” The second half was a mix and mash of different lineups as different players saw the court and contributed heavy minutes like Dallaz Corbitt and Chase McDuffie. “That’s a confidence builder for those guys.” Bethea said of the subs. ” Building the bench is important to us. A sub here and there, those guys are ready each time we call them up.”
It was a starter however, that drained the exclamation point on this victory as junior forward Juwan Gary hit a three pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter making the deficit an even 40. Gary is getting looks from multiple Division I looks from across the nation including South Carolina. He finished with 11. So Gray Collegiate improves to 23-4 and advances to the third round of the playoffs. They will host Lee Central out of Bishopville this coming Tuesday night in the Upper State Semifinal.
Other scores and notes from the weekend.
Blythewood ties a school record in points scored beating Socastee 96-61. The Bengals scored 96 last season against Spring Valley. The big three of Tre Jackson, Robert Braswell, and Jonathan Breeland combined for 73 of those. Blythewood will host Conway on Tuesday
Also in 5A, Irmo got past Sumter 45-41. They will travel to West Ashley Tuesday.
Keenan outlasted Landrum 52-50 in over time. The Raiders now travel to Greenville Tech in the 2A Semifinal.
Tuesday is going to be a huge day for Midlands boys basketball, here are the rest of the games to come.
Southside at Camden (rematch from last year’s playoff in which Southside won).
Weswood at South Aiken
Ridge View at Aiken
AC Flora at Lakewood (This is one of the best games of the night for me. Two very talented, and well rounded clubs).
As for Girls, they will play mostly on Monday. Here is a quick list of whats to come for Midlands teams there.
Spring Valley hosts Fort Dorchester
Westwood goes to Midland Valley
Richland Norteast travels to North Augusta
AC Flora is at Myrtle Beach
Blacksburg is at Keenan
and Batesburg-Leesville is at Marion.