FLORENCE – The Bethune-Bowman Mohawks saw their season come to an end Saturday in the Class A Lower State Championship.
The defending state champion Hemingway Tigers defeated the Mohawks 69-59 at the Florence Center.
Bethune-Bowman ended the year with an 17-10 record, including going undefeated in region play with eight wins. Hemingway has knocked Bethune-Bowman out of the playoffs for three successive three years.
Mohawk head Coach Artis Coulter said his team’s loss cannot be attributed to offense or defense, but turnovers.
“We just made more turnovers than them. That was the game. We had 18 turnovers tonight, they had eight, so that was the game,” he said.
“They didn’t do anything special, we just turned the ball over more than them. I told my team whoever has fewer turnovers will win the game,” he said.
The Mohawks trailed from the opening tip and were never able to recover. Eight first-quarter turnovers led to 10 points for the Tigers.
The frequent turnovers stalled Bethune-Bowman’s offense, and the Mohawks only managed five first quarter points. Hemingway led 19-5 after a quarter.
While still committing turnovers at a high rate, Bethune-Bowman was able to catch a rhythm on offense. Led by senior Braxton Wedgeworth’s eight second-quarter points, the Mohawks more than tripled their first-quarter point production with 16 before halftime.
Hemingway continued its offensive production and scored timely buckets to stop any momentum that the Mohawks were able to build.
At the half, Hemingway led 30-21.
Both teams played at a fast pace and with defensive intensity in the third quarter, but the turnover bug stayed with the Mohawks. They were led offensively by Javier King, who tallied seven third-quarter points. But the turnovers led to easy points for the defending champions.
Hemingway increased the lead to 51-37 with a quarter to play.
Javier King and Wedgeworth carried Bethune-Bowman’s offensive output, combining for 18 points in the fourth quarter. But Hemingway was able to capture the momentum with a successful in-bounds alley-oop dunk.
The Mohawks fought to the final whistle, and a late three by Bradley Washington cut the lead to 10. But the buzzer sounded, crowning Hemingway the Class A Lower State Champion.
The Mohawks were led by Wedgeworth with 26 points in his final high school game. King had 17 points, followed by Washington with nine.
Dashaquavius Cooper led Hemingway with 18 points, followed by Darius Taylor with 12.
Coulter said he views 2018-19 as a “pretty good season.”
“I’m proud of the boys. They gave it their all, so I’m proud of them,” he said.