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PREP BASKETBALL: O-W prepares for Top 10 matchup

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O-W hoops pic (copy)

Orangeburg-Wilkinson's Michael Bowman takes a shot against Sumter in this T&D file photo.

Top-ranked Orangeburg-Wilkinson will try to wrestle control of Region V-AAA as they travel to face sixth-ranked Brookland-Cayce Tuesday in West Columbia.

The Bruins defeated B-C 75-50 in the finals of the Region V tournament last season to claim the region championship and a No. 1 seed in the Class AAA playoffs.

“B-C head coach Robert Wells told me his team practiced all summer in preparation for us,” Orangeburg-Wilkinson head coach Willie Thomas said. Monday. “That’s quite a bit of motivation.”

After missing its last two Friday contests, Orangeburg-Wilkinson is looking to squeeze its region games into the final two weeks of the season. The Bruins embarked on a schedule that features four region games in five nights.

O-W opened the week with a home game against ninth-ranked Fox Creek before traveling to face B-C tonight. They are scheduled to play at home Wednesday against Swansea and Friday against Gilbert.

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Thomas said his team had a similar stretch over the Christmas holiday when they defeated Ashley Ridge, Denmark-Olar and South Aiken at the Orangeburg County tournament followed by a tournament game against Porter Gaud.

“It seems like our team plays better with less practice,” Thomas said. “They are starting to buy in to what we are trying to teach them, and they continue to grow physically and mentally. We know we have to play better to beat a team like (B-C).”

Jordan Simpson is leading the Bruins with nearly 19 points per game and five rebounds. Thomas said Simpson is O-W’s most experienced player, but he has a strong complimentary cast around him.

“Guys like Horace Jacques, Brykel Washington and O’quandre Sanders can all bust out at any time,” Thomas said. “We don’t try to hold anyone back, but it seems like each player is starting to fit into a specific role. There’s a lot of talent on this team.”

Jacques is averaging over 10 points per game, and Thomas called Washington his most skilled player as he is averaging over seven points a game.

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Brookland Cayce features the trio of Jahmari Kennerly, Christian Ferguson and Christian Hall who each average over 11 points per game.

“Because of the ranking we have, we know we have to be prepared to face everyone’s best shot,” Thomas said. “These guys have to play hard every game, because it’s a championship game, but they are up to the challenge.”

Brookland-Cayce plays host to Orangeburg-Wilkinson Tuesday beginning at 7:30 p.m.


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