GEORGETOWN – It probably feels like a bad dream for the Bulldog faithful.
The No. 2 seed Georgetown varsity boys’ basketball team fell to No. 3 seed Cheraw at home on Tuesday, Feb. 18 in the first round of the SCHSL 3A boys’ basketball state playoffs 61-43 in a shockingly lopsided upset that ended the Bulldogs’ season prematurely.
“I always tell the guys, sometimes those jumpers are going to be off, but there’s no such thing as your layups being off,” Georgetown head coach Alvin Walker said. “I thought it might be a long night when we couldn’t get the put backs. I just wanted them to keep fighting, keep fighting, but we couldn’t put it in the hole; we could not put that ball in the hole tonight. This is the worst time to have that. I’m not taking nothing away from them (Cheraw), I give them all the credit, but we’re a whole lot better than what we played tonight.”
Georgetown finished the season with an 18-7 record with the loss.
Sophomore guard/forward Ty Richardson led the Bulldogs in scoring with 10 points, junior guard Quadrell Grant had eight and senior shooting guard Ishmael Taylor added seven.
For the Braves, junior guard Marshall Myers led the team in scoring with 25 points, senior guard Keilen Watson had 10 and sophomore center Cale Burch added eight. Cheraw is now 14-11 overall.
Unfortunately for Georgetown, some of its players were not 100% because they were recovering from a “bug that was going around”.
According to Walker, sophomore forward/wing Isaiah Howell, senior point guard/shooting guard Darrell Gardner and senior guard Jamari Geathers all played sick in the team’s regular season finale at Academic Magnet back on Feb. 11. Junior guard Omar Mitchell and Taylor missed the game entirely.
“Monday (Feb. 17) was the first time I had the team together in over a week,” Walker said. “I was excited to have them back but the rust was still there. I was glad we had practice and I got to see all of them. I was happy they had the heart to push through.”
Walker noticed some of his players were fatigued in the Cheraw game.
“Isaiah wasn’t as explosive as he usually is,” he said. “He wasn’t his bouncy self. He wasn’t using his legs on free throws and didn’t get the rebounds his usually gets. But that’s life; I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
Walker is happy with how his team played despite some of his players still recovering from an illness.
“We had to go out there and put it on the line not at full strength,” he said. “You have to play the game with whatever you got. I’m not taking anything from the Cheraw Braves, I wish them good luck moving on, but that’s why you didn’t see the Bulldog team you were used to. It would’ve been a better game (had we been healthy). We had so much more potential to move on, but these things happen.”
Georgetown started off the game with a 4-0 run that included a 3-pointer and free throw from Richardson, but Cheraw struck back with a 7-0 run with layups from Myers and Watson and a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Devin Gillespie to five the Braves a 7-4 lead with roughly four minutes to go in the first quarter.
After a Mitchell layup to make it 7-6, Cheraw went on another run, this one 8-0, that included two free throws from Burch, a free throw from Gillespie and a 3-pointer and a layup from Myers to give the Braves a 15-6 lead with 1:07 to go in the quarter.
Taylor and Howell made layups for the Bulldogs to cut the lead to 15-10 with 10 seconds to go in the quarter, but Burch hit a layup right before the buzzer to give Cheraw a 17-10 lead.
The teams each scored nine points in the second quarter, with Cheraw going into the half with a 26-19 lead.
Cheraw opened up the third quarter on a backbreaking 20-2 run to take a commanding 46-21 lead with 1:27 to go in the third quarter.
However, Georgetown tried to creep back into it with an 11-0 run that included five free throws from Grant and a free throw, a dunk and a layup from Richardson to cut the lead to 46-32 with 7:03 to go in game.
However, that’s as close as the Bulldogs would get. The Braves outscored Georgetown 15-11 the rest of the way to come away with a 61-43 victory and move on to the second round of the playoffs to face off against Edisto.
Walker said he would give his players a very specific message in the locker room after the game.
“How proud I am this season (of them) fighting to get where they got,” he said. “We lost a lot from last year in an all-state player in Jerry Dorsey and some other good seniors, but they came together as a group this year and really played good team basketball. So my thing is, for the seniors, thank them for the ride my one year back, and for the underclassmen, let’s start working. I know you don’t like this taste in your mouth, so let’s start doing something about that right now. That’s my message to them.”