Indian Land High sophomore Marty Cauthen doesn't score often, but the two points he scored against Eau Claire High could be his most important ever.
Cauthen, who had been 0-3 at the foul line, hit two free throws with 7.2 seconds left to seal a 61-58 win and allowed the Warriors to clinch a spot in the Upper State finals Saturday against Keenan, who beat Lee Central 62-49 on Wednesday.
"That is big time basketball," said Indian Land coach Nate Smith. "This was for our fans and Lancaster County. This is our high school March Madness. We haven't had much respect all year. If people don't know where Indian Land is now, well then, I just don't know."
The game Saturday is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville.
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Indian Land was up big after the first quarter, but Eau Claire slowly chipped away at the lead over the remaining three quarters, until it pulled within one at 59-58 with seven seconds left.
"We knew Eau Claire had a reputation of being a second-half team," Smith said. "We just kept our composure."
Their composure was tested in the second half. With just under four minutes left and the Warriors clinging to a 51-42 lead, Indian Land's Terrell Rogers, who led all scorers with 29 points, called a time out. As Rogers was going to his bench, Eau Claire's Marquise Lykes and Rogers made contact with each other. Both benches got up and started towards each other, but no punches were thrown and the referees and Lancaster County Sheriff's Department got things under control quickly.
After that, Eau Claire kept the rally going; but Rogers, who scored 13 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, would go to the foul line and hit 9-of-10 free throws.
Indian Land struggled in the fourth quarter with nine turnovers and only got off eight shots, hitting just three of them. They did the majority of their work from the charity stripe.
The Warriors looked as if they were going to run away with the game jumping out to a 5-0 start and moving on to hold a 22-8 lead after the first quarter.
Eau Claire quickly made the adjustments they needed to get back in the game and started the second quarter on an 8-0 run.
Indian Land's struggles handling the ball would start in the second quarter. Rogers, who was consistently doubled team for the rest of the game, was held to just two points on 1-of-5 shooting in the quarter, but sophomore Hayden Sawyer scored eight of his 13 points in the quarter to keep the Warriors moving forward.
Eau Claire pulled within 15 as they entered the locker room at the half.
The Warriors struggles would continue in the third quarter, as not only Rogers, but the whole team struggled shooting. Indian Land was outscored in the third quarter 15-6 as Eau Claire pulled within six at 40-34 by the end of the quarter. Indian Land shot just 21 percent in the period.
Eighth-grader Darnell Rogers got Indian Land off to a good start to the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. Rogers and his older brother, Terrell, combined to score 19 of Indian Land's 21 points in the quarter with the other two points coming on Cauthen's free throws.
INDIAN LAND 61, EAU CLAIRE 58
Eau Claire - Marquis Lykes 21, Ronnie Green 9, Dontell Riley 8, Marquis Jones 8, A.J. Caldwell 5, Jordan Stuckey 5, Jamison Reed 2
Indian Land - Terrell Rogers 29, Hayden Sawyer 13, Darnell Rogers 8, Jarrell Robinson 6, Rashid McGriff 3, Marty Cauthen 2
3-pointers - Eau Claire 3 (Lykes 2, Stuckey), Indian Land 4 (T. Rogers 2, D. Rogers 1, McGriff). Team fouls - Eau Claire 25, Indian Land 20. Records: Eau Claire 19-8, Indian Land 19-8.