Blythewood ends season with loss to Dorman

SPARTANBURG – Having escaped T.L. Hanna in the first round of the 5A boys playoffs, Blythewood faced a monster on the road Saturday night in three-time defending champion Dorman.

The results were as expected, as the large, seasoned Cavaliers overmatched the almost all-sophomore Bengals 83-52 to end the season.

Cavaliers Myles Tate scored 26 points and Justin Amadi added 23 to lead their team to their 25th straight victory.

Dorman went on to beat Spartanburg to play the Irmo-Wade Hampton winner for the upper state championship.

Blythewood finished the season 17-11, but head coach Zeke Washington loved the idea of showing the young Bengals what a great basketball team can be.

“I want my young kids to have the chance to play them,” head coach Zeke Washington said about Dorman after his team’s 61-59 first-round victory over T.L. Hanna last Wednesday. “We’ve just got to get their minds ready to play them. They want to be good basketball players, and the best team in this state, second best team in the nation, is Dorman. You can’t ask for anything else. You’ve got to buckle up, let’s go.”

In eking out its slim victory over T.L. Hanna (14-13), it took everything the Bengals had in them to close out the win.

“It didn’t matter that they were on the road, they were coming at us,” Washington said of the Yellow Jackets. “We were trying to get them a little more focused in practice. They’ve got to understand that this is a single-elimination tournament.”

The Bengals had a 33-26 lead on the Yellow Jackets at halftime, and held a 42-35 advantage midway through the third quarter. T.L. Hanna clawed back using an 8-2 run to close the third and trim the deficit to 44-43.

In spite of losing big man John Haddock Rogers to fouls with 4:48 to go, the Yellow Jackets’ point guard James Lovorn burst on a small scoring spree from all angles of the court.

“They got into us defensively, and we couldn’t get into a set,” Washington said. “And, the shots that guy (Lovorn) made, they just didn’t make any sense. I take my hat off to him. The shots he had were just incredible. The step-back three he had, I was like, wow.”

Rogers left the game with 19 points and nine rebounds, but Lovorn scored 10 of his game-high 27 points down the stretch to give the Yellow Jackets a 59-54 lead with 1:19 left in the game.

“All of their players knew their role,” Washington said of T.L. Hanna’s fundamentals. “That’s big. All of them knew what they were supposed to do. It was just hard to stop 32 (Rogers) who was a problem for us, and 4 (Lovorn).”

It was only in the final minute when the young Bengals decided not to drop out of the first round.

Brice Cohen hit his first basket of the game, a 3-pointer, with 55 seconds left. After a T.L. Hanna timeout, Stacey Shephard drew a foul and sank two free throws with 21 seconds left to tie the game.

Lovorn, who had made 11 field goals and five 3-pointers up until that time turned over the ball to Richards. Richards passed to Cohen, who worked the ball down the court and put it in Phillips’ hands in the lane.

Phillips’ layup attempt went short of the rim, but he draw a foul with 2.9 seconds left. The 6-7 sophomore forward took the line and drained two shots for the 61-59 lead.

When Lovorn turned over the ball again with 1.5 seconds to go, all Cohen had to do was take the inbound to near midcourt and let the clock drain for the win.

“Our guys didn’t quit and we found a way to win the game,” Washington said.  “It’s stressful for me and my coaching staff, but when you get in this type of atmosphere which is charged. Hopefully they’ll be a little bit better, and won’t be as nervous. They know now that when you get into the playoffs, you’ve gotta be locked in.”

Wednesday – Blythewood 61, T.L. Hanna 59

T.L. Hanna – 15-11-17-16 – 59

Blythewood – 17-16-11-17 – 61

T.L. Hanna – James Lovorn 27, John Haddock Rogers 19, Whiting 4, Hall 4, Pettway 3, Henderson 2.

Blythewood – Julian Phillips 24, Emmanuel Richards 12, Wright 8, Samuel 5, Williams 4, Cohen 3, Kelly 2, Shephard 2, Rogers 1.

Saturday – Dorman 83, Blythewood 52

Blythewood – 12-13-12-15 – 52

Dorman – 16-20-19-28 – 83