COLUMBIA — The third-ranked Keenan Raiders knocked the fifth-ranked Indian Land Warriors out of the 2A playoffs for the second time in three years as they advanced to the Upper State championship winning 86-76.
The Raiders stayed at the foul line in the fourth quarter as they went 22-for-31 in the quarter and 30-for-42 for the game. Indian Land had three players foul out and the Warriors had 28 fouls called against them.
The Warriors shot just four foul shots in the fourth quarter and 16 in the game, as Keenan’s foul shooting in the final period made the difference in the game.
“Every time we came back, we couldn’t get over the hump,” said Warriors’ head coach Nate Smith. “It was a good game. I am so proud of our kids. We wanted more, but getting this far is good for our program.”
Despite closing the gap in the third quarter, Indian Land came out in the fourth down by five at 54-49 and had two straight turnovers as Keenan pushed its lead out to eight points.
The Raiders showed why they are the third-ranked team in 2A as they saw the Warriors struggle early and pounced on the opportunity.
The Raiders started getting the calls they needed and heading to the line. Keenan had four players score in double figures, including three with 20 plus points. They were led by Marcus Stroman, who had 24 points, the majority of those coming in the fourth quarter as he went 13-for-15 from the foul line.
Indian Land was able to stay within striking distance. But the Warriors didn’t get the opportunities they were hoping for early in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors were led by freshman standout Rakym Felder, who scored 42 points to lead Indian Land. Fellow freshman Darnell Rogers added 20 points as they two nearly singlehandedly guided Indian Land.
Indian Land opened the third quarter on a 4-0 run. Felder continued to play like a man possessed as he led the Indian Land charge.
The Warriors switched to a full-court press and closed to within a basket, 43-41, with about four minutes left in the third quarter.
The pressure started to get to Keenan as the Raiders slipped into a run-and-gun style, which led to more missed baskets. Despite the Raiders’ struggles, Keenan maintained the lead by shooting 50 percent from the field in the quarter. The Warriors struggled in the first half in shooting the ball, while Keenan drained six 3-pointers. The Raiders hit eight threes in the game.
Indian Land’s Rogers and Felder took the burden of trying to score on nearly every trip down the court. The Warriors did a better job on the boards in the second quarter on the defensive side not allowing extra opportunities for Keenan. Despite the effort, the Raiders kept a 23-17 lead as Indian Land struggled to convert on the offensive end.
Each time the Warriors looked as if they were going to make a run, Keenan would start launching 3-pointers. Stroman led the Raiders on an 8-0 run to push the score to 34-22 hitting back-to-back 3-pointers forcing an Indian Land time out.
Indian Land did make a run right before the end of the half as Felder again stepped up for the Warriors to close the gap to 37-30 at the break.
Keenan, which has won two of the last three 2A state titles, came out and showed why the Raiders have been so good in recent years.
Both teams came out and started working in a hurry. Both teams rushed shots and Keenan swarmed Indian Land every time the Warriors entered the lane.
Another 3-pointer by Stroman forced an Indian Land timeout to regroup as the visitors quickly went down 11-4.
Keenan 86, Indian Land 76
Indian Land – Rakym Felder 42, Darnell Rogers 20, Hayden Sawyer 8, Lee McCall 4, Connor Butler 2.
Keenan – Marcus Stroman 24, Eric Hopkins 21, Jaquan Allen 20, Charles Smith 16, Kendrick Gathers 3, Leontre Johnson 2.
3-pointers: Indian Land 5 (Rogers 3, Sawyer 1, Felder 1), Keenan 8 (Hopkins 4, Stroman 3, Gathers 1). Team fouls: Indian Land 28, Keenan 16.
Records: Indian Land 23-3, Keenan 22-5.