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Kingstree High School

Kingstree boys come up short in first round of playoffs

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Kingstree—Sometimes it takes a little while for a team to jell and come together. That’s the way the season went for the Kingstree boys’ basketball team, who started off slow before stepping its game up during the final month of competition.

The Jaguars showed potential early before going through a rough spell. At one point, they were in danger of missing the playoffs and it looked as if the pundits may have been right about the team early on.

“We were actually picked to finish last in our region and the kids saw that as a slap in the face,” head coach Earl Brown II said back in December. “I told them to earn the right to have people wanting to talk to them. They want to prove the naysayers wrong. The kids are ready to battle and compete every night.”

With nothing to lose, Kingstree rolled off wins in six of its final seven games – the lone defeat coming by one point to eventual region champion Mullins – and finished third in the conference behind the Auctioneers and Carvers Bay.

Unfortunately, the campaign came to an abrupt end with a 70-63 loss to Whale Branch in the first round of the Class AA playoffs. The Jaguars were 12-12 overall.

Kingstree will lose some talented players to graduation guard Direlle McGee, who averaged 21.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 1.7 assists per game.

“He has a lights out game. He can put it on the floor or shoot it, and he plays outstanding defense. He’s been more aggressive instead of deferring to other guys,” Brown said of his top senior earlier this season.

Also departing are guards Tijawan Black and Genario Jones and forwards Tyrese Scott and Cam’Ron Washington. Black was the team’s third-leading scorer while Washington grabbed nearly nine rebounds a night.

 Wing N’Chez Alston will be the top player returning in 2019-20 for the Jaguars. The junior averaged 19.1 points, 1.9 steals and 1.4 assists this winter and should see players like Jaden Swinton and John James have more prominent roles around him. Other returning players include Clinton Faulton, D’Carlo McFadden and Deon Elmore.

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