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Keenan rallies to win AAA boys title, 70-40, over Ridgeland-Hardeeville

 

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Columbia—After Ridgeland-Hardeeeville led 20-19 at the half, Keenan came out in the third quarter like a house on fire using their length on both sides of the ball to gain a 43-31 lead entering the final period.

In the final quarter the rally continued when the Raiders out-scored Ridgeland-Hardeeville 27-9 as head coach Zach Norris won his 6th state title at Keenan 70-40.

“I told the players at halftime it looked like the other team was playing a little harder and I challenged my guys to step it up and I felt like we really did a good job on defense and our offense got to clicking better in the second half,” said Coach Norris. “We played more like Keenan basketball in the final two quarters. In the first half we were throwing the ball away a lot and we didn’t look sure of ourselves.

“Our senior starters Asanti Price, Q’darius Sanders, and Latrell Taylor plus juniors Dillon (Jones) and Raekwon Horton all played well, especially in the second half. It’s hard to really say but this might be the most talented team all-around that I’ve coached at Keenan. We played well as team and the effort was off the charts.”

Jones, a 6-6 junior forward for Keenan had 15 points, 7 rebounds, six assists and three steals during the game. “This has been a long time coming and coach told us at half-time we had to step up our game and we did,” said Jones. “We were not going to be denied. We needed to play better defense and we stepped things up on that side of the ball and that got us going on offense also.”

Keenan was led in scoring by Price who had 22 points and Taylor had 15 points and led the team in steals with four. Horton had 10 points and three assists. JeSean Morris had four points and Sanders and Todd Garrett closed out the Raider scoring with two points each.

Hardeeville-Ridgeland head coach Jerimiah Faber fought back tears as he was leaving the court. “We let things slip away in the third quarter and took some shots we probably shouldn’t have taken,’ he said. “The shots just were not dropping for us. We just didn’t execute well at all in the third quarter.

“We came into the season without our best post player who we lost to an ACL and a couple players transferred to Thomas Heyward so we were down a few players but I am proud of how this team kept improving and it is a credit to them that they won the Lower state and made it to the finals,” said Coach Faber. “The effort was there but sometimes our execution could have been better. I will go back and look at the film and see if I can figure out what happened. We’ll be back. We’ll be back next year for sure.”

RH started four seniors, Ny’gel Boozer at guard, Devin Butler at guard, forward Ronai Zimmerman and forward Daquandre Hamilton. The lone non senior starting was sophomore guard Rashad Baker.

Boozer led RH in scoring with 18 including two steals. Hamilton had six points, and Devin Butler and Rashamel Butler each had five points. Jeremiah Orr contributed four points and Baker close out the scoring wide shots the two.

For the game RH shot 7 of 8 on free throws. However, they could not overcome 15 of 48 made shots and 25 turnovers. Keenan made 12 of 17 free throws and had 15 turnovers and made 28 of 51 shots they attempted.


© 2017 High School Sports Report

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