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LR boys knock off No. 1 Crestwood in thriller, two area teams to play for SCISA titles

Lower Richland coach JoJo English said his team got some extra motivation headed into its playoff game with top-ranked Crestwood.

English was made aware of a video on social media about Crestwood possibly overlooking the Diamond Hornets. Lower Richland players used it as fuel in their 55-52 overtime win on Wednesday in the third round of the Class 3A playoffs.

“”We saw an Instagram video where they weren’t worried about Lower Richland. We wanted to make sure they weren’t worried about practicing no more,” English said. “.. We felt disrespected. And we were down bodies (injuries and foul trouble) and our kids came off the bench and willed ourselves to a victory.”

Lower Richland will face Darlington in the state semifinals on Feb. 27 at the Florence Center.

It is the Diamond Hornets’ first semifinal trip since 2017 when they won the state championship. It is the first semifinal for English as a coach at his alma mater.

English won a state championship as a coach at Sumter and as a player at Lower Richland. He was used to playing in front of a packed Diamond Mine as a player and challenged the fans to come out on Wednesday.

“Our crowd was behind us and our kids played our hearts out,” English said.

The LR crowd responded and exploded when guard Mario James scored the first five points of overtime, including a 3-pointer, to give the Diamond Hornets a 49-44 lead with 2:45 left.

“I just had to be confident in myself and my teammates for getting me the ball,” said James who scored eight of his 11 points in the second half. “I just had to make a play.”

Center Alex Atkinson’s put-back put Lower Richland up 51-46 with 1:56 left. Atkinson had a team-high 13 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks before fouling out with 1:11 left.

Lower Richland’s lead was down to 53-52 when Le’quaree Glenn hit two free throws to extend the lead to 55-52. The Diamond Hornets were just 6-of-18 from the free-throw line before Glenn’s two shots.

Lower Richland had the ball with 5.6 seconds and turned it over on an inbounds pass to halfcourt, but Crestwood’s game-tying 3-point attempt hit the front of the rim.

Xavier Johnson led Crestwood with 15 points. Big man Teon Tindal added 12 points but fouled out with 6:46 left in the game.

Round three for Ridge View, AC Flora

It will be an all Region 5-4A state semifinal in Florence as Ridge View and AC Flora won on the road in the Class 4A playoffs.

Ridge View defeated Bluffton, 50-49, and AC Flora defeated Wilson, 50-37. This is Ridge View’s first state semifinal appearance and AC Flora’s second straight. The Falcons lost to Westwood last season.

It will be the third meeting of the year between the two teams as Ridge View swept the regular-season matchups.

In Ridge View’s win, Lucia Bailey had a team-high 17 points and hit the game-winning free throw with three seconds left.

In AC Flora’s win, Madison Mickens led the way with 19 points.

Lauren Jacobs scores 45 for Heathwood

Lauren Jacobs scored a game-high 45 points as Heathwood Hall defeated First Baptist, 66-61 (OT) in the SCISA Class 4A semifinals at the Sumter Civic Center.

Heathwood will play Northwood, which defeated Hammond, on Friday at 6 p.m. in Sumter. The Highlanders are going for their second straight state title.

Jacobs’ 45 points was two off her career-high of 47 she had earlier this year against Cardinal Newman. It was the third time this season she has scored more than 40 points in a game.

Cardinal Newman boys earns title rematch

The Cardinal Newman boys are headed to their second straight SCISA Class 4A championship game.

The Cards knocked off rival Hammond, 51-43, in the semifinals at the Sumter Civic Center. Cardinal Newman will face Augusta Christian for the second straight year in the championship on Friday at 8 p.m. Augusta Christian defeated Heathwood Hall, 69-39.

Augusta Christian defeated the Cards, 47-44, last year in the title game. The two region foes split the matchups this season with margin of victory a combined five points.

SCHSL playoff scores, schedule

Wednesday

Class 3A Boys

Lower Richland 55, Crestwood 52 (OT)

Class 4A Girls

Ridge View 50, Bluffton 49

AC Flora 50, Wilson 37

Thursday

Class 4A Boys

Ridge View at Wilson, 7 p.m.

Westwood at James Island, 7 p.m.

Class A Boys

CA Johnson vs. North at Orangeburg-Wilkinson, 7 p.m.

Class 3A Girls

Camden at Lower Richland, 6:30 p.m.

Friday

5A Boys Lower State Championship

Lexington vs. Summerville at Florence Center, 8 p.m.

Saturday

2A Girls Upper State Championship

Gray Collegiate vs. Landrum at Florence Center, 2 p.m.

2A Boys Upper State Championship

Gray Collegiate vs. Keenan at Florence Center, 4 p.m.

Tuesday

3A Boys Lower State championship

Lower Richland vs. Darlington at Florence Center, 8 p.m.

Wednesday

4A Girls Lower State championship

Ridge View vs. AC Flora at Florence Center, 6 p.m.

SCISA Boys playoff scores, schedule

Class 4A

Wednesday

Augusta Christian 69, Heathwood Hall 39

Cardinal Newman 51, Hammond 43

Friday

Cardinal Newman vs. Augusta Christian at Sumter Civic Center, 8 p.m.

SCISA Girls playoff scores, schedule

Class 4A

Wednesday

Heathwood Hall 66, First Baptist 61 (OT)

Northwood 57, Hammond 41

Friday

Northwood vs. Heathwood Hall at Sumter Civic Center, 6 p.m.