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Abbeville High School

Abbeville boys win region title in basketball

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Abbeville – After a little time to get their legs under them, the Abbeville High boys basketball team put together another solid campaign in 2019-20.

Abbeville finished the season with a 17-7 record overall and won the region 2-AA title with a 9-1 record. The Panthers had high hopes of competing for the state championship in Class AA and picked up two playoff wins over Blacksburg and Greer Middle College. The season ended, however, with a third-round loss to Andrew Jackson. It was the second straight season that Andrew Jackson ended Abbeville’s season in the playoffs.

This year’s team was loaded with seniors and coach Doug Belcher received strong play and leadership. The Panthers won 31 games in the last two seasons.

Abbeville struggled early as many members of the team came from football. The Panthers lost their region opener to Fox Creek but then reeled off nine straight wins in region play.

Belcher, now in his eighth season, earned his 100th career victory earlier this season. The coach knew early on that his team would find the right chemistry.

Despite not having his full team together much during the first six weeks, due to injuries, Belcher sees a lot of chemistry with this year’s team.

“Most of this team is returning from last year so they know the system and they have played together,” Belcher said. “We have good talent and good athleticism. We came into the year with high expectations and these guys have been putting it together of late.”

The Panthers had a good mix in perimeter scoring and inside strength. On the outside, the main threats were seniors Titus Paul, Dre Watt and J.D. Moore. Paul led the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game, up from 9.6 points last season. He also averaged 6.6 rebounds.

Watt averaged 10.9 while Moore added 11 points and 4.3 assists per game Another key perimeter shooter was junior Kivionte Garner, who averaged 8.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Senior Natavious Norman averaged 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds on the inside, while Jhalyn Shuler scored seven points per game but led the team in rebounding at nearly 10 boards per game.

Junior Navi Marshall averaged 6.3 points per game and will be a key returner next season. Freshman Jay Tinch contributed nearly six points and four rebounds this season.

Wrestlers compete in state tournament

Six members of the Abbeville wrestling team qualified for the Class AA/A state individual wrestling tournament in late February.

The program produced a state champion with Davis Smalley winning the 106-pound gold medal. Smalley also was the upper state champion.

Luke Evans won the upper state title at 195 pounds and finished second at the state finals.

 Brady Crabb qualified for the state tournament at 113 pounds and Mason Price qualified at 145 pounds. Addison Nickles qualified in the 182 weight class and Connor Nickles qualified at 285 after finished second in the Upper State tournament.

Dubose named head coach at Emerald

Abbeville High athletic director Tad Dubose has been named the head football coach at Emerald High School.

Dubose also was the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach for the football team. He came to Abbeville as a coach in 2004 and took over as athletic director in 2007. Emerald will be his first head coaching position.

 

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