A standing-room-only home crowd room, coupled with a visiting ranked local rival, was just the motivation to revive a struggling Orangeburg-Wilkinson boys’ basketball team Saturday.
Led by preseason All-State selection Tashombe Riley’s 22 points and 18 from Tauree Curry, the third-ranked Bruins rolled to a 70-48 win over Calhoun County.
“Most motivation I’ve seen, most team chemistry I’ve seen,” O-W head coach Tracey Gamble said. “We were just popping. Everything was going in order tonight.”
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for O-W (2-4), who led as many as 25 points in the second half. Riley provided an early boost for the Bruins with a series of fast break points which ignited the O-W faithful in attendance.
“We came out strong because we came out with a lot of energy,” Riley said. “We started the game with a lot of energy.”
Calhoun County (1-2), ranked seventh in Class 2-A by the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association, closed the second quarter on a strong note. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Raquan Fredrick, who finished with a team-high 14 points, and a steal and layup as time expired by Tamauria Charley helped cut O-W’s lead to 33-22 at halftime.
A 10-1 run to open the second half sparked by Riley enabled O-W to open up a 49-31 advantage entering the fourth quarter. The Bruins held Calhoun County to just three field goals in the third quarter.
As the foul totals increased for both teams, O-W extended its lead in the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Curry gave the Bruins their biggest lead at 60-35 and the Bruins finished the game outscoring Calhoun County 21-17.
The two teams will meet again Saturday in St. Matthews, where the Bruins expect a more intense “dogfight” after a seven-day break.
“I think it’s good for us to get our legs back under us, to get some rest and get some fluids in our bodies,” Curry said.
Tashombe Riley 22, Tyler Davis 8, Tauree Curry 18, Richard Green 1, Brandon Oliver 2, Messiah Rice 4, Lorenzo Riley 5, Austin Anderson 4
Calhoun County (48)
Raquan Fredrick 14, Jarrett Williams 7, John Smith 8, Corey Zeigler 8, Tamauria Charley 2, Xavier Stephens 3, Dekembre Brown 6
Orangeburg-Wilkinson 70, Calhoun County 32
With the eyes of over 30 players from the program’s four state championship teams upon them, the top-ranked Class 3-A Bruinettes led from start to finish in remaining undefeated on the season.
O-W (6-0) led as many as 40 points in the contest, led by Nebreshia Hughes’ game-high 21 points. Playing against her former school, Hughes nearly matched the Lady Saints’ first-half point total with 17, including 13 straight in the second quarter when she outscored them 15-13.
“I think it had nothing to do with Calhoun County,” O-W head coach Josh Staley said. “She works hard. She didn’t mention it the whole time that it was on the schedule. She just works hard every day in practice. She’s just a very consistent worker, so I expect her to have games like this.”
Dejoria Howard continued her strong play with 13 points and Erin Howard and Sau’kita Glover each added eight to lead a Bruinette front court which capitalized on its size advantage over Calhoun County.
Brittany Charley was the only scorer in double figures for the Lady Saints with 13.
At halftime, a special ceremony was held recognizing the O-W girls’ basketball teams who won state titles in 1987, 1991, 2000 and 2002. In addition, a special portrait of the Bruinettes’ late head coach Edward Pellman, who coached all four teams, was presented to his widow.
“It was to pay tribute to an excellent program, to a wonderful coach who was also a great man first who gave this program all he had and we just wanted to pay tribute to let people know that it’s bigger than us. It’s not just about kids playing now. It’s about the women that came before them that laid down the tradition. We’ve got to pay homage.”
Nebreshia Hughes 21, Dejoria Howard 13, Kiara Mitchell 4, JaQuanna Murray 1, Erin Howard 8, Tchenavia Jackson 4, Sade Johnson 4, Vondria Ritter 4, Sau’kita Glover 8
Calhoun County (32)
Brittany Charley 13, Shannisa White 4, Briana Charley 3, Ernesha Brown 2, Brianna Guilford 4, Shyterla Gaffney 2, Haley Williams 4
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