Hartsville Red Foxes move up in playoffs
By Don Gearhart
There were cardiac moments in the Hartsville/Hilton Head first round of the SCHSA basetball playoffs.
Then, just when everyone thought the Red Foxes’ playoff hopes were dead, DeAndre Hopkins served as the defibrillator to keep them alive.
The first quarter was a sluggish affair with eight lead changes before Hilton Head surged to a 16-13 advantage. Turnovers plagued both teams throughout a low second stanza. Hartsville regained the lead briefly when Jamari Briggs hit two jumpers just outside the key, but Hilton Head recovered, taking a two point lead at the half, 24-22.
The Red Foxes came out of the locker room on fire. Tristan Lexander opened the quarter by draining a three point shot from the corner. At one point, Hartsville had a 14- point run to claim a 12-point lead. Despite eight points by Lexander, Hilton Head pushed back at the end of the period only down three.
Hilton Head regained the lead at 41-40 halfway through the fourth quarter. Trailing by four with just 36 seconds left, Huggins swished a pair of free throws and then scored on a drive to the hoop with just 0:10 left on the clock. Hilton Head called a timeout to set up for the last shot with 8.7 seconds left in regulation.
However, Hartsville had a plan of their own. Seven seconds after the inbounds pass, Hartsville committed their sixth personal foul; one that did not yet put their opponents at the free throw line. A desperation shot missed and the score remained knotted at 44-44.
A pair of buckets by Huggins, four free throws from Lexander, then a pair of free throws from Huggins sealed the win for the Red Foxes who will now travel to North Augusta for a second round match.
Lexander led Hartsville with 17 points, Huggins netted 16, and Briggs finished with 15 points.
Although nothing is free, it was free throws that counted most as Hartsville was 16-21 from the line and Hilton Head only managed a 5-13 performance.
Hilton Head: 10 – 8 – 10 – 10 – 6 — 50
Zac Morris 13, Jeremiah Stevens 12, Jourdin Nelson-Duns 8, Alex Smith 6, Karyce Campbell 4, Matthew Larkby 3, Jayden Guilliams 2, So’Corey Walters 2
Hartsville: 13 – 9 – 15 – 7 – 10 — 54
Tristin Lexander 17, DeAndre Huggins 16, Jamari Briggs 15, Kameron Foman 4, Treion McFarland 2