Nation Ford hammers Hillcrest in 5A boys' playoff opener
Nation Ford 71, Hillcrest 41
The Nation Ford Falcons put four players in double figures while the visiting Hillcrest Rams only had two players make more than one field goal Wednesday night. The result was a 71-41 win in the first round of the 5A playoffs for Nation Ford.
The Falcons will host a traditional power, the Gaffney Indians, at 7 p.m. Saturday. The two teams split a pair of games this season, with both teams oddly enough winning on the other’s home court.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for their program,” Nation Ford coach Jared Adamson said.
Junior Zeb Graham led the Falcons (17-6) with 18 points and late in the game scored his 1000th career point. He was presented with a basketball commemorating the occasion.
“I’m glad Zeb is a Falcon,” Adamson said. “He’s very quick with the basketball and he can score in a variety of ways. A thousand points in high school as a junior is a big deal.”
Ben Tuipulotu had 13 for Nation Ford, Shaman Alston 11, and Khydarius Smith 10. Eric Moulds hit three three-pointers.
Sophomore Justin Amadi was the only Ram in double figures and 11 of his 13 came in the third period, when he scored all but one Hillcrest point.
The Falcons pushed the tempo all night and finished with several dunks. A flush by Smith gave them a 29-17 lead with 2:55 left in the first half, and Graham threw one down with one hand on a break for the last bucket of the first half and a 33-20 advantage.
“Offensively, we just wanted to get out and run and play fast,” Adamson said.
Smith finished off an alley-oop one minute into the fourth period for a 53-34 edge and punctuated another dunk with two hands with 4:30 left to play. Nation Ford controlled the game from the outset, but they also scored the final 14 points of the contest to make it look a little more one-sided.
Nation Ford 71 Hillcrest 41
Individual scoring: NF - Zeb Graham 18; Eric Moulds 9; Khydarius Smith 10; Ben Tuipulotu 13; Cade Chatham 6; Shaman Alston 11; Wayde Prince 2; John Heath 2. HC - Steven Campbell 7; Cameron Hunter 3; Michael Brimes 2; Hunter Furches 3; Justin Amadi 13; Tre Bell 4; Will Sims 3; Bob Friddle 3; Zion Bruster 3. Three-pointers: NF - 7 (Moulds 3, Chatham 2, Graham, Tuipulotu. HC - 5 (Hunter, Furches, Bell, Sims, Bruster). Team fouls: NF - 12. HC - 13. Records - NF: 17-6. HC: 11-14.
Greenwood 51, Fort Mill 50
The Fort MIll Yellow Jackets missed a three-pointer near the buzzer in losing to the Greenwood Eagles 51-50 in the first round of the 5A playoffs Wednesday at Fort Mill.
The Jackets, led by Ryan Heriot, who scored 19 points in the game, rallied in the fourth quarter after trailing by five after three quarters. Heriot hit a 3-pointer to put Fort Mill up 43-42. The score was tied at 45 before Greenwood took the lead for good in the closing two minutes.
Fort Mill led 29-23 at halftime, but Greenwood used its height to get inside and battle for the high percentage shot. The Eagles tied the game at 36 with about 1:15 left in the third quarter. The Jackets struggled with turnovers in the quarter losing the ball eight times.
Wade Hampton 68, Clover 37
Wade Hampton defeated Clover 68-37 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs Wednesday night in Greenville.
Clover finished the year with an overall record of 12-12.
Riverside 66, Northwestern 61
Riverside took a 26-24 lead at halftime and went on to topple Northwestern 66-61 in the opening round of the 5A playoffs Wednesday night in Greenville.
Northwestern completed the season with an overall record of 10-14.
South Aiken 68, York 51
South Aiken pulled away in the final period and toppled York 68-51 in the opening round of the 4A playoffs Wednesday night at South Aiken.
South Aiken led 33-28 at halftime, and it was not until the early going in the last quarter that they broke it open. A short run in the first two minutes of the last period gave South Aiken a 55-40 lead, and York could not recover.
York finished the season with an overall record of 10-14.
Aiken 56, South Pointe 47
Aiken pulled away in overtime and defeated South Pointe 56-47 in the first round of the 4A playoffs Wednesday night at Aiken.
Aiken led 25-21 at halftime and 37-33 heading to the final quarter. With 1:35 to go in overtime Aiken had a 49-44 lead and hung on to get the win.
South Pointe finished the year with a record of 10-13.
Chester 72, Palmetto 62
Chester toppled Palmetto 72-62 in the opening round of the 3A playoffs Tuesday in Chester.
Chester trailed 53-49 heading into the fourth period. The Cyclones used a 10-0 run in the final eight minutes to take a 66-57 lead, and went on to pick up the win.
Chester is 16-5 overall on the year and will travel to Newberry for second round play Friday.
Indian Land 62, Berea 49
Indian Land defeated Berea 62-49 in the first round of the 3A playoffs Tuesday night in Greenville.
Indian Land improved to 11-13 on the year and will travel to Walhalla for the second round of play Friday night.
Coaches release final top 10 poll
The South Carolina Coaches Association has announced its final regular season poll, and Nation Ford, Great Falls, and Lewisville are on the list.
1. Blythewood, 2. Dorman, 3. Wade Hampton (G), 4. Sumter, 5. Conway, 6. Nation Ford, 7. West Ashley, 8. Westside, 9. Gaffney, 10. Irmo.
1. Wilson, 2. Greenville, 3. Aiken, 4. Berkeley, 5. Westwood, 6. A. C. Flora, 7. Ridge View, 8. Lakewood , 9. Travelers Rest, 10. Orangeburg-Wilkinson/Hartsville.
1. Southside, 2. Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 3. Loris, 4. Newberry, 5. Camden, 6. Wade Hampton (H), 7. Swansea, 8. Walhalla, 9. Bishop England, 10. Chester.
1. Gray Collegiate, 2. Carvers Bay, 3. Lee Central, 4. Keenan, 5. Calhoun County, 6. Landrum, 7. Greenville Tech, 8. Silver Bluff, 9. Marion, 10. Central.
1. Hemingway, 2. High Point Academy, 3. Great Falls, 4. Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, 5. Ridge Spring-Monetta, 6. Lewisville, 7. Williston-Elko, 8. McCormick, 9. McBee, 10. Lowcountry Leadership.
Hillcrest 76, Clover 73 (OT)
Hillcrest edged Clover 76-73 in overtime in the opening round of the 5A playoffs Tuesday night at Hillcrest.
Clover finished the season with an overall record of 15-9.
Coaches release final top 10 poll
The South Carolina Coaches Association has announced its final poll for the regular season, and Rock Hill and Nation Ford are included.
1. Spring Valley, 2. Goose Creek, 3. Woodmont, 4. Rock Hill, 5. Wade Hampton (G), 6. Carolina Forest, 7. Greenwood, 8. Fort Dorchester, 9. Nation Ford, 10. Sumter.
1. North Augusta, 2. Myrtle Beach, 3. Richland Northeast, 4. Westwood, 5. Crestwood, 6. Wilson, 7. Orangeburg-Wilkinson, 8. Greer, 9. Stall, 10. Greenville.
1. Newberry, 2. Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 3. Pendleton, 4. Bishop England, 5. Swansea, 6. Dillon, 7. Berea, 8. Fairfield Central, 9. Emerald, 10. Battery Creek/Manning.
1. Marion, 2. Christ Church, 3. Mullins, 4. Keenan, 5. Batesburg-Leesville, 6. Saluda, 7. Andrew Jackson, 8. Barnwell, 9. Southside Christian, 10. Landrum.
1. East Clarendon, 2. Blackville-Hilda, 3. Green Sea-Floyds, 4. Ridge Spring-Monetta, 5. High Point Academy, 6. Timmonsville, 7. Lamar, 8. Estill, 9. Denmark-Olar, 10. McCormick.
Compiled by Steven Bowers, Mac Banks and Sam Copeland