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Marlboro County High School
Bennettsville

Big turnaround season for the Marlboro County boys basketball team

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Bennettsville – What a difference a year made for the Marlboro County boys basketball team.

The Bulldogs of coach Troy Brace had a fantastic season, posting a 20-8 overall record. Last season, the Bulldogs finished 8-17 overall.

“We took a big leap forward as a program,” Brace said. “I definitely feel like we are headed in the right direction. This group of guys bought in and really responded well. They competed hard and they fought for every win. It’s disappointing the way it all ended but we are moving forward and preparing for better things next season.”

Marlboro County reached the third round of the AAAA Lower State playoffs, losing to A.C. Flora by three points in overtime. The game was decided on foul shots with one second left in the overtime.

“It didn’t end the way we had hoped for but I think the guys we have returning will use it as a learning experience,” Brace said. “It will help us grow and learn. I definitely think it will be used as fuel to the fire during the off season. We don’t want to experience that pain again so we will work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

Three members of the squad earned first-team all-region honors in region 6-AAAA. Post player Wesley Brown averaged about 12 points per game. Point guard Devonte Oliver averaged 5.3 assists and scored about nine points per game, while junior guard Dre Scott averaged right at 10 points per contest.

Senior forward Ryan Dupree was a second-team all-region pick and Jamiek McCoy was a third-team selection. Dupree averaged 10 points per game and McCoy added eight points.

Brace loses five seniors from this year’s team. Losing his bigs – Dupree and Brown – will mean a different style of play next year. Scott and Oliver return as one of the top backcourts in the state next year.

“We will be able to play a lot faster next year,” Brace said. “We won’t be as big inside but we will be much quicker. Scoring won’t be a problem and I believe defensively our speed will allow us to do more. We had a good jayvee team (17 wins) and we have some guards coming from that group. I think we have a chance to be very good.”

 The girls team finished their season with a 16-9 record, losing a first-round playoff game to Aiken. The team was led this season by Jasmine Norman and Tysonia Lowe, each averaging just under 18 points per game on the year. Senior Kennedy Ashwood added nine points per game.

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