Cavaliers clip Eagles to move to second round
The Richland Northeast Cavaliers fought off a second half rally by the Clover Eagles to win 62–48 in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs Wednesday, February 16 at the Northeast gym.
The victory sends the Cavaliers of coach Jason Powell, now 17–9 overall, on to the second round of the playoffs Friday night against Dorman. Travis Hammonds and Devante Anderson each tallied 11 points for the hosts. Nine Cavaliers tallied at least three points.
Coach Dudley Lybrand’s Clover Eagles finish the campaign with a 16–8 slate. Darius Harris had 11 points, and Darian Harris tallied ten for the visitors.
The Cavaliers came out effectively early, moving the ball around the perimeter, and occasionally getting inside to Hammonds or Anderson. Down by ten, 32–22, with 5:15 left in the third quarter, the Eagles called time to adjust their defensive strategy, applying full–court pressure. The pace quickened, and the Cavs’ appeared to have broken that pressure at the end of the third quarter. At the buzzer, Quinn Martin connected on a long 3–pointer to stake the Cavs to a 47–33 lead.
Then things really got interesting.
“Lady Luck was on our side in the fourth quarter,” Northeast coach Jason Powell said after the game. “One day our guys are going to listen, or one day they are going to get bit. I can’t explain it to you. We can’t put anybody away; we have been like that all year. We get up and think everything is hunky dory, and then we find ourselves in a dogfight. “
The fourth quarter was a story in two parts. Clover ran off a 15–0 run in the first four minutes taking a 48–47 lead on a layup by Darius Harris. Amazingly, the Eagles would not score again. The Cavs began their 15–0 closing run when Hammonds connected on a rainbow three right in front of a delirious Northeast student section. The Northeast big men, Hammonds and Anderson, and the playmakers, Martin and A.C Whaley, found the range from the field and charity stripe to give the Cavaliers a chance to move on in the playoffs.
The Cavaliers had a tough week in region play with a listless loss to Dutch Fork and a big loss to Irmo before a win against Spring Valley to close out the regular season.
“If there is a message I could give to those guys, it is that if we could put somebody away, we could be a really good team,” Powell says. “We have a lot of these guys coming back next year. We have only four seniors. When they came back and scored 15 straight, our guys just could have rolled it up and said ‘I quit.’ But our guys don’t quit. And that is a good thing about them. Right now, I don’t care how you win, just win.”
The Cavaliers lost 64–43 at Dorman Friday, February 19 concluding their playoff run.