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Keenan dominates the second half to go back-to- back in class AAA with a 55-32 over Wade Hampton

Columbia – After watching the Keenan girls team defeat Marion 53-33, the Keenan Boys’ team took the court looking to complete the rare double in high school basketball (Boys and girls teams winning state championships in the same year), so when they were clinging to a one point lead at half time they knew they needed to a big second half and they got  it as they outscored Wade Hampton 35-13 to capture their second straight Class AAA state championship.

            “I’m so proud of this team to come ion here and get this win. Last year we were a senior dominated team with a couple of juniors. One of the juniors left so we were a different team. The upper classmen pulled the younger guys together and we won our last 20 games,” said Keenan head coach Zachary Norris.

            “All week the girls and the guys were talking about getting the double/ double and we did it,” coach Norris said.

            The back-to-back championships is the third time that the Raiders have done it under coach Norris. The win also moved Keenen into a second-place tie with Charleston high with 9 state championships. They finished the year 25-6.

            The Red Devils of Wade Hampton were making their fourth appearance in the state finals but the first since winning the AA crown in 1987. They finished the year at 20-7.

            “I m so proud of this team we fought hard all night but the shots just didn’t fall tonight for us and once we fell behind we didn’t make the plays to get back in the game,” said Wade Hampton Head Romon Gray. “We have a good group coming back and now they know what it takes to get to this point so we will get back to work.”

            The first half was a defensive battle with neither team gaining a foot hold and the half ended with Keenan on top 20-19. Both teams All State players showed why they earned these honors as Keenan’s Raekwon Horton (AAA POY) led the Raiders with 9 points and Wade Hampton’s Brandon Brantley had 11.

            The third quarter started with the Red Devils scoring first but then Keenan’s Semajeh Echols scored two inside baskets and suddenly the lead was six at 29-23. The Red Devils would get no closer that rest of the rest of the way and the third quarter ended with the Raiders on top 35-28.

            The fourth quarter was all Raiders as they outscored the red Devils 20-4 and held them without a field goal from the middle of the third quarter until the end. In the fourth the Am’Quaze Jones scored his only six points of the game but they started a 10-2 run.

            Coach Norris said about the second half, “we made a couple of adjustments at the half that caused them some problems. The biggest thing is played with more intensity in the second half.”

            “We played good defense most of the game, but we had trouble keeping them off the class and that really hurt us,” coach Gray said.

            The Raiders were led by Horton’s 19 points and 16 rebounds with 11 of his rebounds coming on the offensive glass. Jazian Gortman chipped in with 13 points.

            Brantley led the Red Devils with a game high 20 points. He also grabbed six board and had two blocks. Samuel Gray had 9 to go with 8 rebounds.



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