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Irmo boys basketball is back in a familiar place. The Yellow Jackets throttled Lucy Beckham 59-34 in the third round of the Class 4A playoffs Monday and will play Hartsville in the Lower State championship this coming Friday at the Florence Center at 7:30 p.m.

It’s the 14th time in Irmo coach Tim Whipple’s career the Yellow Jackets have advanced to the state semifinals. They made it that far last season before losing to AC Flora.

“People get caught up in where you’re going. This has been a journey. This hasn’t been a destination,” Whipple reflected after the win. “I said it many times. It’s about the journey. It’s about the fact that you’re ready to play every single day. That’s a reflection of your total work, not what you did yesterday.”

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The outcome was never in doubt after the first quarter. Irmo trailed the visitors from Mount Pleasant 8-5 after the opening eight minutes but thanks to a 17-0 second quarter, they led 22-8 at the half. Lucy Beckham went almost 12 minutes without scoring and turning the run missed eight shots and suffered nine of their 14 turnovers during that stretch.

“That was phenomenal,” said Whipple. “You don’t shut teams out in a quarter, especially a team as good offensively as they are, and they are a very good team. They play hard and do so many good things. It’s a credit to our guys being willing to go out and maintain the integrity of our defenses and then play them well.”

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A lot of the changes had to do with Brandon Crawford, Irmo’s 6’9” center and Class 4A Player of the Year. Crawford scored 15 points with six rebounds and seven blocks. But even on the shots he didn’t block, he helped alter the shots and got the Bengals out of their customary offense. Lucy Beckham shot 29 percent for the game.

Crawford missed about two and a half weeks with mononucleosis during the regular season and Irmo went 3-2 during that time. They’ve been unbeaten since he returned, winning seven in a row.

“Brandon, without a doubt, has singlehandedly created à situation where he changes the focus of offenses and I've never had a player do that,” Whipple said. “It’s a credit to him, but also, he works hard. I think being sick and not being out there, he realized how much his does loves basketball and how much he missed it and that’s driven him a little bit here.”

Crawford wasn’t alone in his outstanding play. Te’Andre Summons added 12 points and eight rebounds, Madden Collins chipped in with 12 points and six assists, Jonathan White totaled 10 points and AJ Brand contributed seven points.

“It means a lot. We lost in the next round, and we want to get that for the seniors and the team we had last year,” said Crawford. “Honestly, we all started clicking, we started playing better defense and got the easy buckets on offense. We set up better and got hot.”

Monday, February 20

Class 4A Boys

Upper State

Greenville 71, Catawba Ridge 60

Lancaster 54, Wade Hampton 45

Lower State

Irmo 59, Lucy Beckham 34

Hartsville 56, Wilson 41

Class 3A Boys

Upper State

Wren 62, Daniel 56

Travelers Rest 51, Clinton 46

Lower State

Crestwood 68, Lower Richland 49

Orangeburg-Wilkinson 61, Beaufort 39



Class 4A Girls

Heathwood Hall 73, Augusta Christian 28

Northwood 45, Hammond 28

Tuesday, February 21

Class 4A Girls

Upper State

North Augusta at Pickens

Eastside at Pickens

Lower State

James Island at Westwood

Ridge View at AC Flora

Class 3A Girls

Upper State

Walhalla at Southside

Blue Ridge at Wren

Lower State

Loris at Camden, 6 p.m.

Crestwood at Lower Richland

Class 2A Girls

Upper State

Fairfield Central at Gray Collegiate

Keenan at Silver Bluff

Lower State

Kingstree at Andrew Jackson

Bishop England at Timberland

Class A Boys

Upper State

Calhoun Falls at Christ Church

Denmark-Olar at Great Falls

Lower State

Burke at Scott’s Branch

Baptist Hill at Estill

Wednesday, February 22

Class 5A Boys

Upper State

TL Hanna at Lexington

Dorman at Fort Mill

Lower State

River Bluff at Conway

Goose Creek at Summerville

Class 5A Girls

Upper State

Lexington at Mauldin

Dorman at Spring Valley

Lower State

Stall at Sumter

Summerville at Stratford

Class 2A Boys

Upper State

Columbia at Keenan

Eau Claire at Gray Collegiate

Lower State

Woodland at Andrew Jackson

Mullins at Oceanside Collegiate

Class A Girls

Upper State

St. Joseph’s at High Point Academy

Denmark-Olar at McBee

Lower State

Lake View at Carvers Bay

Military Magnet at Allendale-Fairfax

Friday, February 24

Class 4A Boys

Upper State at Bon Secours Arena in Greenville

Greenville vs Lancaster

Lower State at Florence Center

Hartsville vs Irmo

Saturday, February 25

Class 3A Boys

Upper State at Bon Secours Arena in Greenville

Travelers Rest vs Wren

Lower State at Florence Center

Orangeburg-Wilkinson vs Crestwood

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