Call it Packers versus Bears, United States versus Canada or Carolina versus Clemson—in Indian Land, South Carolina, there’s not a basketball rivalry bigger than the Warriors against the Keenan Raiders.
Head coach Nate Smith’s boys’ team earned a crucial date with their Columbia foes by downingFairfield Central, 71-50, Saturday night.
“You could compare this to Ali v. Frazier,” Smith said, grinning. “That’s what everybody’s gonna want to come to see.”
Indian Land hit 15 of its last 20 free throws in the fourth quarter to ice its ninth straight win. Indian Land is facing a Keenan squad (19-6) fresh off their ninth consecutive win, as well. Keenan beat Indian Land in the third round of last year’s 2A playoffs.
“If we’ve gotta go through them to get this state championship, then I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Smith said.
Smith’s team had to get past the Griffins of Winnsboro first, who quickly made an impact behind 6-4 senior Keith Workman. The guard scored half of his team’s three-pointers and converted eight of his nine tries at the charity stripe. He finished with 23 points.
Fairfield-Central’s swarming defense held sophomore guard Darnell Rogers to a single field goal in the second quarter, cutting an early Warrior lead to single digits.
After the break, Indian Land’s Derries Hampton took matters into his own hands, driving hard to the basket on three straight possessions before burying a long trey and two jumpers. He finished with 23 points.
His assist to big man Quantra Taylor for a resounding dunk ended the quarter with aplomb.
“There were definitely some players who came up big for us, offensively,” Smith said. “This is just another win for us and we got the players for it.”
Hampton scored consecutive layups in the fourth quarter before the visitors began fouling on each possession. Rogers, who finished with 20 points, and Damien Foreman, who finished with 14, coolly dispatched their foul shots.
FC 14;11;13;12- 50
IL 22;11;19;19- 71
FC: Keith Workman 23, Dequan Weldon 3, Jalyn Davis 8, Brandon Adams 2, Daniel Maple 4, Shadarius Hopkins 7, Javahnne Neal 3 IL: Darnell Rogers 20, Lee McCall 7, D. Foreman 14, D. Hampton 23, Brandon Barnes 3
Team fouls: EC 26; IL 16
Foul shooting: EC 23-33; IL 11-14
3-point shooting: EC 6 (Workman 3, Adams 1, Neal 1, Weldon 1); IL 4 (Hampton 3, Foreman 1)
Team records: EC 19-8; IL 19-4