Stags fall 52-49 as Bruins clinch Region 8AAA title
Orangeburg-Wilkinson made the Region 8AAA race academic on the road against the Berkeley Stags on Feb. 18, holding on to win a 52-49 region thriller to capture the Region 8AAA title and top seed going into the state playoffs.
“Great game, great win, and now we get to play the first two rounds of the playoffs at home,” said Bruins Coach Tracey Gamble. “We played hard and now we have to focus our energy on the one-game season that is the playoffs.”
The Stags jumped out to a 12-7 first quarter lead behind Alex Taylor’s four inside points. The Bruins were slow getting out of the box, being held scoreless over the game’s first three minutes and 10 seconds.
“We really wanted to play well so that we would have momentum going into the playoffs,” said BHS Coach Joe Wallace. “The outcome of the game would not have changed our standings in the region, but it would have given us the much needed spark headed into post season play.”
Orangeburg battled back in the second quarter when Lorenzo Riley found the mark, pouring in nine of his team-high 12 points in the second quarter and gave O.W. a lead they would not relinquish 18-16 at the 4:11 mark of the second quarter. Riley scored all his points in the first half to give the Bruins a 24-20 lead going into the locker room.
“We played well for portions of the game, but we let it slip away when we veered away from the game plan,” Wallace said. “We wanted to control the tempo, and as long as we were doing that, things worked to our advantage.”
Orangeburg was able to hold serve through the third quarter, jumping out to a 10-point lead 32-22, then holding off a Stags 9-0 to cut the lead to 36-33 going into the game’s final eight minutes.
That’s when things got interesting.
The Stags got hot and tied the game 38-38, on a pair of Dee Harley free throws early in the quarter.
“Our plan was to slow the game down, execute our half -court offense with making several passes and getting easy buckets,” Wallace said. “We did that for most of the first quarter. Orangeburg started pressuring us a little and they were pushing the ball on offense. My guys got caught up with that and started running with them. This led to bad shots and turnovers on our part.”
The Bruins’ Tyler Davis gave O.W. the lead for good 41-38 on a layup and free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play, beginning a 7-0 fourth quarter run to put the game away.
D’Andre Richardson’s layup cut the lead to 45-40 but the Bruins were able to ice the game at the foul line, scoring 10 of their 16 fourth quarter points from the charity stripe.
Wallace said the free throws proved to the difference in the game.
“They made free throws and we didn’t,” he said. “We still had a chance to tie it in regulation, but the ball fell short.”
Alex Taylor led the Stags with 14 points and Malik Maggett added 13 points to pace Berkeley on offense.
Riley led the Bruins with 12 points while Davis and Frederic Johnson chipped in nine points each.
The Bruins improved to 15-8 on the season and 8-2 in Region 8AAA.
The Stags fell to 11-12 and 4-6 in Region 8AAA and take the region’s fourth seed. Berkeley lost to Myrtle Beach 72-52 in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs (see Playoffs 1B).
“I really appreciate all of the parents and fans that made the trip to Myrtle Beach to support us,” Wallace said. “It definitely meant a lot to the guys to hear people in the stands cheering for Berkeley basketball.”