Three area teams advance in AA basketball playoffs

By Kevin Boozer

February 21, 2014

NEWBERRY — The Newberry High School girls team got a monkey off its back Thursday night as the girls relied on defense and slashing drives to the lane to offset an off night by Tyshira Bates so they could advance past Carolina 71-37.

The Lady Bulldogs overcame adversity as an ill Arnesia Boyd was in and out of the line-up. To compensate, Coach Melissa Mendenhall challenged her big girls to elevate their inside games.

“Nigeria Davis put the team on her back in the second half,” Coach Mendenhall said.

The win got the Lady Bulldogs past the first round game bugaboo of recent seasons but she said the girls were trying to take it in stride and stay focused on their next opponent, Blacksburg. Mendenhall said Bates did a good job of being a slashing scorer on a night when her jump shot was off and hopes her star guard is clicking on all cylinders Sat. at 6 p.m. when Blacksburg comes calling.

In the second home playoff game the NHS boys turned on the defensive pressure in the third quarter to pull away from the Chesnee High Eagles. Senior Trey Miller led the team in scoring with 18. Close Behind him were Jaylen Lindsay and Notorious Booker with 14 and Trey Gary with 10. Coach Chad Cary realized early on his Bulldogs were not as sharp shooting as he would have liked, so he challenged them to step up on defense. They held Chesnee’s leading scorer to two points from the line and just three two-point baskets. The guard/forward hit a few three pointers from NBA range with a hand in his face, but Cary said the game plan all along was to force lower percentage outside shots and to clamp down on the team’s role players.

“Our kids listened. This group will take it to heart if you tell them there is a star player on the other side because our guys set out to prove they are as good or better that he,” Cary said. Ten players scored for the Dogs in a balanced effort.


GREENVILLE — The MCHS boys varsity team won its first playoff game since the mid-1990s Thursday night, defeatingCarolina in overtime 66-62. Head Coach Emmanuel Dewalt was proud of how his team battled and took the game into overtime.

“We knew going in they were athletic and we had to keep them off of the boards,” Dewalt said.

Early on the close range shots did not go down for the Rebels and they trailed 15-8. They trimmed the lead to 31-29 at the half but the Rebels still trailed by seven heading into the final frame. Clutch free throw shooting by Danton Hyman and a key steal in the waning seconds of regulation gave the Rebels a chance to win their second overtime contest in as many games. MCHS pulled out the four point win to earn a rematch with Newberry High school Saturday at 7 p.m. in Wille Scott Gymnasium. The NHS-MCHS winner will be one win shy of playing in the Upper State Championship Game.

BLACKSBURG — The MCHS girls lost to Blacksburg to finish their season 12-12. The 12 wins are a high water mark at MCHS for Head Coach Gary Wilbanks and something he says the team can build upon going into the off season. Close calls and a size disadvantage worked against the Rebels in this one and Wilbanks said the difference on the boards was the difference in the 16-point outcome.

“We played good defense but rebounded poorly so they got second and third shot opportunities,” Wilbanks said. “It’s hard to win like that, even though we played ‘em even in the second half.”

For more coverage of the MCHS girls game and the other Thursday night action, see the Monday edition of The Newberry Observer.