Branchville Markel Watkins

Markel Watkins (3) of Branchville goes up for a shot against Bethune-Bowman in Thursday's play-in game at Denmark. Watkins hit two key free throws with under a minute to play to give the Yellow Jackets a four-point lead.

DENMARK — Lydell and Navar Elmore each finished with a triple-double as Branchville topped Bethune-Bowman (10-13,5-5), 62-60, on Thursday night at Denmark-Olar to claim the fourth seed in the Region 5-A playoffs.

The 6-8 Elmore twins accounted for more than half of Branchville’s points, with Lydell getting 18 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds and Navar getting 16 pointsa, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

After holding a lead for the first three quarters of play, the Yellow Jackets (15-8,6-5) found themselves trailing for the first time in the game following a clutch three by Bowman’s Tyrone Dantzler with under two minutes left, 57-56.

Branchville’s Markel Watkins and Lydell Elmore responded to Dantzler’s three by leading the Yellow Jackets on a 5-0 run with 1:20 remaining. Elmore tied the game at 57 with a free throw, then Watkins followed with a steal and lob to Elmore for the layup to reclaim the lead with 45 seconds on the clock, 61-57.

Watkins gave the Yellow Jackets a four-point margin with under 30 seconds as he sank two free throws. Dantzler responded by knocking down another clutch three with 16 seconds to cut the lead to one before Malik Bell sealed the win with a free throw with 12.3 seconds left in the game.

“It feels good [to be in the playoffs], we did it for Branchville,” Watkins said following the win.

After taking a three-point lead to end the first quarter, 19-16, Branchville had a tough time getting its offense going in the second quarter until Tamir Murray gave the team a spark off the bench with six minutes before halftime. Murray scored two quick layups to give his team a 28-20 lead; Branchville went into the half with a four-point lead at 34-30.

“We shared the ball well tonight,” Jackets Coach Kareem Williams said.

Williams credited his bench for playing a big role. “They really came together, they came through for us in the third quarter,” he said.

Last night’s win earned the Yellow Jackets their first postseason playoff appearance since 2007.

Scoring Summary

Branchville (62)- Lydell Elmore 18, Navar Elmore 16, Malik Bell 10, Markel Watkins 8, Tamir Murray 4, Cleon Leeks 3, Chaz Livingston 2, Patrick Strange 1,

Bethune-Bowman (60)- Tyrone Dantzler 23, Jeh’kaelin Parler 10, Jaquan Felder 9, Brandon Small 7, Malik Willis 5, Octavius Green 3, A. Lee 2, Deston Harrison 1

Halftime: 34-30 (Branchville)

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