SIMPSONVILLE — Last week, after his Bearcats upended defending state champion Gaffney, Rock Hill coach Eric Rollings said second-ranked Hillcrest was more than just Class AAAA player of the year Tre Smith.
Unfortunately for Rollings and his team, those words proved prophetic.
Monday night in Simpsonville, sophomores Randall Shaw and Tyler Hooker combined to score 39 points as the Hillcrest Rams ended the Bearcats season 76-58 in the second round of the playoffs.
Rock Hill finishes 19-8.
Smith got his points, 19 of them, but the sophomore duo tallied 17 of the home teams 19 first-quarter points as Smith went scoreless in the first eight minutes.
Hooker went on a personal 7-0 run for Hillcrests first points of the game after senior guard Nate Motley put the Bearcats up 2-0. That would prove to be the only lead of the night for Rock Hill.
They shot the ball extremely well, Rollings said. They are a good basketball team, and they showed that tonight.
Shaw had 10 points in the opening quarter and led the Rams with 21.
Smith got in the flow with nine of his 19 points in the second stanza but the Bearcats were still in the game, down by 10 at the half, 39-29.
Throughout the game, the taller Bearcats could not exploit their size advantage and had trouble with the Rams press. Rollings tried at times to counter with a smaller lineup, but Hillcrest seemed to be a step quicker to the loose balls for most of the night.
The second half began much like the first. Hillcrest answered a Rock Hill opening bucket with an 8-0 spurt to push the Rams edge to 47-31 with only two minutes gone in the half.
Leading 52-37 later in the quarter, the Rams got points from four players in a 7-0 run and led 61-42 heading into the final quarter.
Motley and Malik Crawford went on a mini 7-2 spurt for Rock Hill to start the fourth, but the movement ran out of steam. Motley recorded nine of his team-high 18 in the quarter.
Rollings reflected on a successful season that saw the Bearcats lose last seasons leading scorer Jamel Jones to an ACL tear during the football season.
I told those seniors, the adversity we went through last year, to come back and respond the way they did this year shows their maturity and how much theyve grown up, Rollings said.
For them to experience some failure and then turn it around and experience success is what hopefully this game teaches them about life.
HILLCREST 76, ROCK HILL 58
Rock Hill - Nate Motley 18, Jaylen Reid 10, Jaleel Scott 10, Roderick Howell 8, Malik Crawford 4, Deonte Fleming 4, Warren Vinson 4.
Hillcrest - Randall Shaw 21, Tre Smith 19, Tyler Hooker 18, Thad Perry 6, Darius White 6, Randalle Walker 4, Tyler OSheal 2.
3-pointers: Rock Hill 2 (Motley, Reid) Hillcrest 6 (Hooker 2, Shaw 2, Perry, Smith) Team fouls: Rock Hill 18, Hillcrest 15.
Records: Rock Hill 19-8, Hillcrest 23-3.