There was a feeling from the opening tip the Dreher Blue Devils/Lower Richland Diamond Hornets boys basketball game could be something special.
A layup from Lower Richland’s Dajon Townsend gets answered by one from Dreher’s Devario Sheppard. A three from Lower Richland’s Quenton Flood gets a response from Dreher’s James Beck.
Four possessions, four scores ….. then the pace slowed down a little.
The Dreher Blue Devils, surging back to respectability under first-year head coach Frank Pennix, took the Lower Richland Diamond Hornets deep into the fourth quarter before the Diamond Hornets pulled out a 63-57 win over their crosstown rivals in a boys’ Region 4-4A basketball game Tuesday, January 14.
Lower Richland advances to 10-4 overall and 1-0 in the region with the win. Flood led the way with a game-high 19 points, Townsend followed with 16, and Melvin Archie had 13. Dreher falls to 6-10 overall and 0-1 in the region. Landon Harrison led the Devils with 11 points.
Lower Richland head coach Caleb Gaither was relieved his team passed a stern test in the region opener.
“To open with a team like Dreher,” Gaither said. “They are really scrappy. The coaches are doing a good job of getting their kids to buy in. I didn’t really feel comfortable till the final buzzer. They are a good group of kids. They play hard, and they are very consistent. They don’t turn the ball over much. We tried to speed them up and turn them over, but they kept their composure and battled us to the end.”
The teams were tied twice for one possession in the first quarter, but the real tug-of-war began in the second stanza. Down 24-14, Dreher hit a 10-0 run to tie the game with 2:24 to go, getting a layup from Mack Hilton, two threes from Harrison, and another jumper from Harrison. The antagonists swapped scores in the last two minutes, and the contest went to intermission tied 29-29.
A three from Sheppard got the Devils a 32-29 lead to start the third. Dreher hung on to the lead throughout the quarter. Lower Richland twice got to within one point. A layup from Sheppard and a put-back from JeSean Morris gave the Blue Devils a 47-42 lead going to the fourth quarter.
Lower Richland caught Dreher in a 51-51 tie with 3:53 to go when Flood hit two free throws. Two more scores from Flood for the Diamonds, a layup from the Devils’ Morris, and two free throws from Dre’Quan Wilson tied the contest at 55-55 with just under two minutes left. Lower Richland pulled ahead by four on jumpers from Archie and Flood. The Devils could only get a layup from Morris down the stretch. Townsend drained four free throws for the Diamond Hornets in the final 22 seconds to ensure the win.
Flood and Townsend are two guards Gaither will look to throughout the season as Lower Richland moves into region play.
“Flood is one of our leaders,” Gaither says. “He has always had that talent on the floor. We need to get him to think more aggressively and to take over when we need him. Townsend’s defense was the most impressive thing tonight. Down the stretch, he knocked down some free throws for us, and that is what a point guard should do.”
Lower Richland: Quenton Flood 19, Dajon Townsend 16, Melvin Archie 13, Korey Richardson 8, Lamonte Smith 5, and Anthony Huff 2.
Dreher: Landon Harrison 11, Dre’Quan Wilson 9, JeSean Morris 8, Devarion Sheppard 7, James Beck 6, Mack Hilton 6, Marvin Hires 6, and Will Bishop 4.