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Seeking more success Gamecocks hosting Ashley Ridge today in 2nd round of 4A wrestling playoffs BY DENNIS BRUNSON Sumter High School’s wrestling team won the Region VI-4A title for the first time since the 2012 season on Monday. Now the Gamecocks hope to take another step forward today in the 4A state playoffs. MATT WALSH / THE SUMTER ITEM SHS will play host to Ashley Ridge Sumter High’s Nate O’ Connor, top, is in control against Bluffotn’s Josh Darrell during in a second-round match today at 6 their 285-pound weight class match at the Gamecock Duals recently. The Gamecocks are p.m. Ashley Ridge was scheduled to hoping to build off their recent success of winning the Region VI-4A title as they host wrestle Irmo in a first-round match Ashley Ridge today in the second round of the 4A wrestling playoffs. today in Sumter, but Irmo forfeited the

match on Friday meaning Ashley Ridge gets a firstround bye like Sumter. “We found out about it this morning,” said Gamecocks head coach Cody SLAUGHTER Slaughter, whose team was to wrestle the winner between Irmo and Ashley Ridge immediately following the completion of their match. “Irmo had some injuries and sickness, and they weren’t going



Region relief Lady Knights win 3rd straight title; CHS boys top 1st-place Gators BY JUSTIN DRIGGERS The Crestwood High School varsity girls basketball team secured its third straight Region VI-3A championship on Friday. But the Lady Knights’ title was in danger of being ripped away – at least momentarily – at the last minute by a double-digit comeback from rival Lakewood. After Crestwood built a 16-point lead near midway through the third quarter, the Lady Gators got hot down the stretch, cutting the deficit to just three late in the fourth before the Lady Knights were able to fend off the upset with a 45-42 victory at The Swamp. The Crestwood boys also were victorious, pulling off a 52-50 win to tighten up the region race. “That’s the sign of a good ball WILSON club – on both sides,” Crestwood head girls coach Tony Wilson said. “I told the girls that Lakewood was going to keep coming and that we couldn’t let up. But we got a little careless with the ball toward the end and Lakewood made some shots and made a run.” The final quarter was not wanting for drama. Lakewood entered trailing 37-25 before Sonora Dengokl started an 8-2 LHS run moments later with a pair of free throws and a basket. Dengokl



Crestwood’s Crystal Bennett (23) shoots over Lakewood’s Sonora Dengkol (15) during the Lady Knights’ 45-42 victory on Friday at The Swamp. With the victory, Crestwood captured its third straight Region VI-3A title. In the boys game, CHS edged the first-place Gators 52-50.

Sumter teams take step closer to conference championships BY EDDIE LITAKER Special to The Sumter Item On a night where seniors were recognized before their respective games, Sumter High School’s varsity basketball teams came away with emphatic victories over Carolina Forest to inch ever closer to Region VI-4A regularseason championships. Sumter’s girls took advantage of nine Carolina Forest first-quarter turnovers and a technical foul to begin pulling away after the first, with Shiniyah Brown hitting a 3-point basket for an 18-3 lead. The lead increased each quarter as the Lady Gamecocks closed

with a 66-17 win. Sumter improved to 7-0 in region play and 15-5 overall, but head coach Chris Vandevander said there is still some work left for her squad before they can celebrate a fourth consecutive region title. “West (Florence) only has the one (region) loss against us, and we’ve still got to play them Tuesday VANDEVANDER night,” Vandevander said. “They played tonight and they have two games next week. We just have the one against them, but there’s a chance still that they (could win the

region). So Tuesday’s game is big for us. We could end up tied and have to go to a percentage breaker and all that mess. If we win that, we’re definitely first.” Brown was one of three seniors that broke into the scoring column for the Lady Gamecocks, topping all scorers with 19 points. Fellow seniors N’Dea Kennedy and Dariana Reed ended with four and two points, respectively, while Tasheana Chestnut was shut out offensively in her Senior Night. “It was a nice night, and we did celebrate,” Vandevander said of the senior recognition. “The seniors got to play a lot. We focused on having a good game

for them because this class has been with me the whole time and Shiniyah has been playing since her freshman year so we wanted them to have a big game tonight. I thought that everybody played well. (Chestnut) was posted and I was telling the wings to look for her, but they were just getting excited with the ball out there.” Cy Cooper also finished in double figures for Sumter with 10 points. Kayla Spring had five for the Lady Panthers, who fell to 3-17 and 0-6. Head coach Jo Jo English’s boys team led by three, 15-12, before an Erik



Soothing soda helps Pitts roll way to SCISA bowling title BY DENNIS BRUNSON When Kaylee Pitts takes to the bowling lanes for Wilson Hall, she normally has some sort of soft drink with her to help her relax as she plays. For some reason unbeknownst even to her, Pitts didn’t set herself up with a drink prior to the SCISA PHOTO PROVIDED girls individual state championship tournament on Tuesday at Royal Z Wilson Hall’s Kaylee Pitts, right, holds the plaque Lanes in Columbia. It didn’t matter she received for winning the SCISA girls individual in the first game as Pitts rolled a bowling state tournament on Tuesday at Royal Z 199 and had a 16-pin lead on the Lanes in Columbia.

nearest competition. It did matter after the second game though when Pitts had just a 115 and found herself tied for fourth, 23 pins off the lead. heading into the third and final game. That’s when some action was taken. Wilson Hall assistant coach Cynthia Hardee got Pitts a soft drink to sooth her nerves. “I think it was Mr. Pibb, something like it,” Pitts said. “The soda certainly helped me with my nerves. I knew everything would be OK.”

It certainly was as Pitts rolled a 186 in the final game for a final 3-game score of 500 that allowed her to win the state title by 11 pins over Thomas Sumter Academy’s Sydney Baity. Pitts, who helped the Lady Barons win the team state title a couple of weeks ago, didn’t expect to be holding a plaque for winning the individual title. “My only goal was to go there and play my best,” Pitts said. “I


February 8, 2014  
February 8, 2014