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Bulldogs fall flat in home finale

CHS heads to Chester on Thursday

Posted: February 18, 2014 12:06 p.m.
Updated: February 19, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Throughout its second half of the season run to a AAA state playoff berth, Camden has relied on Josh Sumpter to do its heavy lifting.
Now, with the post-season here, the Bulldogs are going to need everyone to don a weight belt.
Playing for the first time in seven days due to last week’s snowstorm, Ron McKie’s team came up woefully short in its bid to finish third in Region 4-AAA as visiting Lower Richland took that spot away from the hosts with a resounding 57-41 win on Monday night on the Michael G. Culp Court.
The Senior Night setback left the hosts with a 7-5 conference mark --- good for fourth in the circuit --- and a 10-6 regular season record. The Diamond Hornets won the game and the battle for third place, closing out 4-AAA action with an 8-4 ledger.
With the loss, Camden will head to Chester for Thursday’s 7 p.m. AAA Upper State tourney opener. The Cyclones won the Region 3 title with a 10-0 record and are ranked eighth in the latest AAA state poll. LR will hit the road, as well, traveling to meet Chapman on Thursday.
As for Monday, CHS saw its four-game win streak come to an unceremonious end on a night in which Sumpter continued his torrid shooting as the 6-foot guard led the Dogs with 20 points, all of which came in the first three quarters. With the Diamond Hornets carrying a healthy 51-33 lead into the fourth quarter, McKie cleared his bench and allowed his reserves to close out the contest.
Willie Thomas’s visitors jumped on Camden early, using an 11-0 run to open the second quarter to build a 26-14 lead. From that point, the Bulldogs would close the gap to single digits once more when a pair of Alexx Cooke free throws in the final 34 seconds of the first half cut the advantage to 36-27 at intermission.
LR would get a pair of baskets from Brandon Stroman, one coming on a layin as a result of a CHS turnover and the second on a putback, as the Diamond Hornets took command of this one with a 40-27 lead at the 7:20 marker of the third quarter.
In a contest in which he watched his team give up too many uncontested shots, McKie was at a loss in trying to explain what happened to his team’s defense.
“We didn’t give an effort tonight … I was disappointed,” he said in an empty classroom in the back of the gym. “I don’t know whether it was the layoff or not practicing; I don’t know what it was but (LR) didn’t practice, either. They just took it to us. I couldn’t understand how they just took it to the basket every time against our defense and nobody would step up.
“With the way we turned the ball over we weren’t in the game from the get-go.”
The Dogs, who beat LR in the Diamond Mine earlier this season, 65-61, were limited to just 16 baskets. Sumpter had all but seven of those. Had it not been for him, McKie said, he shudders to think where his team’s offense would come from.
“If Josh doesn’t score 20,” McKie said, “we might not score 30 points. Nobody did anything on offense for us, other than Josh, in the first half. We can’t make free throws … we miss a ton of them. We didn’t even shoot 50 percent (7-for-16) from the foul line tonight.
“With the way we were throwing the ball around, I was scared one of our fans was going to get one in the face. It was just embarrassing to lose that way on senior night.”
LR took control of things early, jumping to a 9-2 lead on a trey from freshman guard Carlos Nuttry at the 5:25 mark of the opening quarter. Camden got back into it with seven points from Sumpter in the closing five minutes of the opening stanza, including a 3-ball in the final half-minute to close the gap to 15-14.
Camden’s ball control problems cropped up again in the first three minutes of the second quarter as a pair of turnovers led to a pair of baskets including a resounding breakaway slam dunk from Stroman which highlighted the 11-0 run which included seven points from Jared Richardson, who led all scorers with 21.
While LR was spreading the wealth on offense, Camden was, basically, a one-man operation. Sumpter’s 3-point jumper with 5:03 left in the half stopped the bleeding. He later stuck consecutive 15-footers as Camden narrowed the lead to 30-21 with less than three minutes to play before intermission.
A Sumpter drive and Wilson’s aforementioned putback with 2:15 left brought the deficit to single figures. LR answered with mid-range pull-up jumpers from Stroman and Richardson to push the lead to 36-25 before Cooke’s free throws ended the first half scoring.
The Diamond Hornets were getting good looks at the basket with nary an inside presence. LR attempted only two free throws, missing both on the front ends of one and the bonus tries.
“We’re not a quick team. We’re a big team and a lot of their offense was putting five guys on the perimeter and just daring us to come out on them,” McKie said of LR’s offensive strategy. “Sometimes when we came out on them, they blew right by us. They flashed in the lane and we didn’t pick up their flashers. I was just real disappointed in not contesting some of their shots.
“They’re quicker than us and they took it to us. Give them all the credit because they beat us in every phase of the game.”
Stroman’s back-to-back buckets to open the second half all but sealed the deal. A Sumpter putback made it a 42-31 game with 5:33 left in the third. Later, he closed his scoring with another putback at the 3:40 mark to draw the hosts within 47-33 in a quarter which closed with the Dogs looking up at a 51-33 deficit.
Any hopes of a comeback went by the boards when Richardson opened the fourth quarter with three straight baskets. Camden closed with its reserves ending the game on an 8-0 run with sophomore Taylor Kelly scoring on a 12-foot jumper and a layin.
The way his backups played, McKie said, was one of the few bright spots on a cloudy night.
“Those kids who haven’t been playing much in the second half of the region season all have great attitudes,” he said. “They work hard and I wanted to get them out there. They played hard. They haven’t received the playing time that I know they all want, but they’re good kids. They played hard and they made a good run.
“The starters wanted to go back in but I said, ‘No, these guys are playing harder than y’all.’ I was proud of them. I was glad they were able to go in there and do some positive things.”
Cyclone warning: Chester (18-3) is a team which likes to push the pace and can go as many as 11 deep, as the Cyclones did in at least one game this season. The Cyclones average better than 73 points per game.
McKie has seen Chester on film and has talked to coaches who have seen the Cyclones in action. The reports are of a team which will try to score in triple digits every time out and who try to get you into an up-tempo game.
“They score a lot in the 90s,” McKie said. “It’s going to be a run and gun game. If we turn the ball over like we did tonight, (Chester) may hit 100 and, it’s going to be a long ride home.”

LR (57): Kelvin Washington 7 0-0 15, Brandon Stroman 5 0-1 10, Carlos Nuttry 1 0-0 3, Timothy Myers 2 0-1 4, Daniel Tisdale 2 0-0 4, Jared Richardson 10 0-0 21 Totals: 27 0-2 57
CHS (41): Jordan Sumpter 1 0-0 2, Delton Bradford 0 5-9 5, Josh Sumpter 9 0-2 20, D.J. Wilson 2 0-0 4, Tyrone Kelly 0 0-3 0, Alexx Cooke 1 2-2 4, Taylor Kelly 2 0-0 4, Kendrick Dubose 1 0-0 2 Totals: 16 7-16 41
Score by quarters: First: LR, 15-14; Halftime: LR, 36-27; Third: LR, 51-33; Three-point goals: LR 3 (Richardson, Nuttry, Washington), CHS 2 (Josh Sumpter 2)

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