From Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville (Jeff Hoffman) - For the second year in a row the Hillcrest Rams met the Irmo Yellow Jackets in the boys AAAA Upper State Basketball Championship. Last year the Jackets ousted the Rams on their way to the AAAA Championship. Early on Friday night things were going Irmo's may again as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead to open the game. Anthony Nelson would get the Rams on the board. Darius White scored 7 points in the 1st to keep the Rams close, they trailed 18-16 after one.
Randall Shaw opened the 2nd quarter with a 3 pointer, his second triple on the night and gave the Rams a 19-18 lead early in the second. Irmo and Hillcrest would trade the lead on the next few possessions. Irmo's Jevante Gross would pick up his 3rd foul midway into the quarter. With Gross on the bench, Hillcrest took a 37-32 halftime lead. Shaw scored 9 in the quarter and 14 in the 1st half. Darius White added 11 points.
Gross opened the 2nd half converting a basket and foul, completing the 3 point play and cutting the Rams lead to 37-35. Irmo would take the lead on the next possession after a basket by Javis Howard. The teams traded baskets and Hillcrest wouldn't regain the lead until the late 3rd when Uriah Morris hit a 3 to give the Rams a 46-45 lead which they would take to the 4th quarter.
In the final frame, Hillcrest slowed the pace of the game way down to keep the Jackets from running. Gross scored 4 early points and Shaw nailed his 5th 3 pointer to knot the score at 49. After Will Jamison gave Irmo a 51-49 lead and Tyler Hooker went down with a leg injury with two minutes left. Darius White came through big with consecutive buckets and a 53-51 Hillcrest lead. Gross would hit a free throw to cut the lead to 53-52 before fouling out. Rams had the ball and a one point lead, but a bad turnover after breaking the press followed with a foul put Irmo's Davonte Shuler on the line with 11.7 seconds remaining. Shuler knocked in the first, 53-52 Rams. The second clanked off the back iron and was rebounded by Hillcrest's RJ Cain, who was quickly fouled. Cain scored his first point of the night to give Rams a 54-52 lead, but Irmo rebounded the miss on the second and raced the ball down the floor to heave a 3-point attempt at the buzzer for the win which came up just short.
The Rams held on to the 54-52 win, behind 20 points from Randall Shaw. Darius White added 15, including a big 1st and 4th quarters. The Rams advance to the State Championship where they will face Wando on Friday, March 7th at 8:30 pm.
The League Academy girls basketball team upended the Bryson MS girls to secure the 2014 Greenville County MS Championship this past Saturday at Mauldin High School. The boys championship was won by the Greer boys in an exciting upset win over favored 2013 champions Bryson MS.
Bill Utsey, Director of Athletics
301 E. Camperdown Way
Greenville, South Carolina 29601
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