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Avantae Parker and Braylin Thomas each finished with a game-high 13 points to lead the Gray Collegiate War Eagles to a 53-43 win over the Oceanside Landsharks Friday, March 3 in the 2A Boys Basketball Championship in Aiken.
“Avantae Parker is unbelievable,” Gray Collegiate head coach Dion Bethea said. “He plays hard. He’s a winner. Everybody got on board with him. Luckily we started to spread the ball around and get a lot of people in double digits.”
Parker put Gray on top with a bucket and one to start the first quarter. Oceanside answered with a layup from Travis Stickney. A 3-pointer by Trey Maddox grew the War Eagles’ lead to 6-2. A jumper from Makhi Rivers shrank the Landsharks deficit, but Parker made a layup and Myke Mitchell got a bucket to extend Gray’s lead to 10-4. Oceanside got bucket and ones from Reid Warden and Calvin Davinroy to tie the score at 10-10. The War Eagles regained the lead with a jumper from Montraivis White and a layup from Devin Johnson. Oceanside responded with a layup from Malachi Stevens to trim the deficit to 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Justin Pauling knocked down a pair of free throws and Parker hit a bankshot as Gray’s lead grew to 18-12 in the second quarter. However, the Landsharks went on a 12-4 run to take their first lead of the game at 24-22. Davinroy led the way with a 3-pointer and a jumper, Rivers added a pair of layups, and Stickney made a bucket and a free throw. Parker made a layup and Mitchell converted one of two free throws to get back on top with a 25-24 halftime lead.
“I told them to finish the game and stop committing crazy fouls,” Bethea said. “ We needed to sit down, guard, and rebound the basketball. I felt like we left a lot of points on the table because we didn’t shoot free throws well. We missed a lot of layups. Luckily, in the second half we came out, executed, and finished the game.”
Two free throws from Stickney put Oceanside on top 26-25 to start the third quarter, but White hit a jumper and Thomas made a layup as the War Eagles led 29-26. A bankshot from Davinroy closed the gap for the Landsharks to 29-28. Then Gray finished the quarter on a 10-2 run to extend its lead to 39-30. Thomas led the way with five points, Parker and Mitchell chipped in two each, and Quan McDuffie added one.
White knocked down a pair of free throws as the War Eagles led 41-30 in the fourth quarter. Oceanside then went on an 11-4 run to shrink the deficit to four. Warden scored six points, Stickney chipped in two, and Jake Rook made a 3-pointer. That was as close as the Landsharks would get as the War Eagles scored eight of the final ten points to come away with the win.
Gray Collegiate finished the year with a 25-6 record. This also marks the War Eagles’ fifth state championship in the last six years.
“I’m just blessed to have a great support system,” Bethea said. “From my wife and my girls to the job Gray Collegiate Academy does in taking care of us. When you wrap that all into one, it makes it that much better.”
Gray Collegiate: Avantae Parker 13 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, and 2 assists; Braylin Thomas 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal; Montraivis White 8 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals; Myke Mitchell 7 points; 3 rebounds, and 2 steals; Trey Maddox 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 block; Devin Johnson 2 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist; LJ Britt 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block; Justin Pauling 2 points; and Quan McDuffie 1 point and 1 rebound.
Oceanside: Calvin Davinroy 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist; Travis Stickney 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal; Makhi Rivers 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal; Jake Rook 5 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal; and Malachi Stevens 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal.
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