Gamecocks men’s basketball commit leads Powdersville to first state championship game

It’s been quite a few months for Hayden Assemian.

The Powdersville High School junior started his basketball season by committing to play at South Carolina and will end it by playing for a state championship.

Assemian scored 18 points as Powdersville held off region rival Wren, 47-44, to win the Class 3A boys basketball semifinals Tuesday at Florence Center.

Powdersville advances to the state championship to face the Lower Richland/Darlington winner at 4 p.m. on Saturday. It is the Patriots’ first championship appearance in school history.

“Man, it’s been huge,” Assemian said. “The community has been showing so much love to all of us. To drive about three hours to see us play, it is huge and I am thankful for everything.”

The 6-foot-8 Assesmian was a force on the inside for the Patriots, scoring all of his points in the first three quarters as Powdersville built a 43-33 after three quarters.

But like the first meetings between the two teams, it went down to the wire. Down 47-44 with six seconds, Wren got a wide open look at a 3-pointer but missed. It was Powdersville’s first win over Wren in three games this year.

“I knew my team was going to pull it out,” Assemian said. “We were going to do whatever we could to execute. This is a team win. I am just so happy.”

Powdersville coach Austin Anderson thought Assemian’s play early in the game definitely set the tone for the rest of his team.

“He was huge, rebounds, cleaning up things,” Anderson said. “He worked his tail off. Every game, every practice. He gets so much better.”

Assemian came into the game leading the Patriots in scoring at 15.2 points and 8.6 rebounds a game.

Assemian played his first freshman year at Powdersville before playing at Legacy Early College in Greenville last year. He caught the attention of Gamecocks’ coach Lamont Paris over spring and summer and committed in late September.

Paris and the USC coaches sent Assemian messages before the game and he has been a frequent visitor to Gamecocks games this year, going to four or five. He will take his official visit in the fall.

Paris was at one of Assemian’s playoff games earlier this month.

Assemian said his style of running the floor and two-man game fits his style perfectly.

USC is 22-7 in Paris’ second season and should be almost a lock to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017.

“All the coaching staff hit me up today and I’m pretty sure they were all tuned in,” Assesmian said. “And they have just had a huge year, the same as us. Last year wasn’t good but they are doing what they are supposed to do. Coach Paris and the coaching staff know their Xs and Os and they have been playing great basketball.”