Despite missing a few players due to injury and illness, Aiken’s offense looked more than healthy in an 80-55 win over Silver Bluff.
One player that was in action for the Hornets (3-1) was Shawn Moore, and he came out firing for the home team. He made seven of his first eight shots from the floor, including three 3-pointers to keep the Hornets out front.
Head coach Tony Harrell was appreciative of the senior’s efforts on the night.
“He was our offense there for a little while,” Harrell said of Moore, who finished with a game-high 28 points.
After the Hornets led 20-10 with one quarter in the books, Moore’s shooting became necessary. Led by Jaylen Lawrence, the Bulldogs (1-4) won the second quarter 23-18 to cut the home team’s lead to just five points at halftime, with the score resting at 38-33.
Lawrence made hist first four 3-point attempts and hit five total on the night as part of a 19-point effort to lead Silver Bluff.
Head coach Robbie McKenzie said that his rounding into basketball shape after football season is “crucial” to the Bulldogs’ future success.
“Jaylen Lawrence, he’s an incredible basketball player. He’s an incredible athlete,” McKenzie said.
Everytime Lawrence or teammates Jalen Jackson or Brian Hickson made a big shot – Hickson made both of his 3-point attempts while Jackson went 3-for-8 from deep – someone, usually Moore, would hit one for the Hornets.
That kept the Bulldogs from fully capitalizing on their hot second-quarter shooting and kept the Hornets in the lead. Harrell said he felt like, if the home team could just keep pace during the scoring frenzy, his team’s depth could wear the talented visitors down.
“It was real important to answer because they’re a good basketball team,” he said.
The Hornets stretched their lead to 56-45 after three quarters, and the Bulldogs’ guard-heavy rotation cooled off late as the home team won the fourth quarter 24-10 to open up the final 25-point margin. Dramel Coleman, who has only been able to practice with the team once in the last month while dealing with off-the-court issues, was key to making the Bulldogs suffer for their lack of size. He scored 15 points, mostly in the paint, in his return to the Hornets’ lineup. He also threw down a thunderous dunk early that put a charge into the home crowd.
“He’s a heck of a player,” Harrell said of the 6-foot junior. “We’re glad he’s back with us.”
While McKenzie said he was impressed with the way his smaller players fought and shot the ball early, their legs felt the fatigue late of contending with Coleman and 6-foot-3 forward Stacy Toole down low. The Bulldogs are without Gyasi Yeldell and Nick Cummings because of injury.
“We’ve got to get guys healthy,” McKenzie said. “When you can’t compete on the glass, it’s tough to win.”
Aiken will play at Strom Thurmond on Tuesday, the same day Silver Bluff hosts Swansea.
SBHS 10 23 12 10 - 55
AHS 20 18 18 24 - 80
SBHS (1-4)—Devyn Tyler 1 0-2 2, Jalen Jackson 3 0-0 9, Jaylen Lawrence 7 0-0 19, Jalen Douse 1 1-3 3, Donte Wright 4 0-1 10, Brian Hickson 3 0-0 8, Greg Dunbar 0 3-7 3, Dontay Ingram 0 1-2 1, Team 0 0-1 0. Total 19 5-16 55.
3-pointers: Jackson (3), Lawrence (5), Wright (2), Hickson (2)
AHS (3-1)—Shawn Moore 10 4-7 28, Ryan McKie 5 1-4 11, Dramel Coleman 7 1-2 15, Jaylen Croft 1 1-1 3, Stacy Toole 2 4-6 8, Jared Davis 4 0-0 9, Justin Smith 1 0-0 3, Jordan Habersham 1 0-0 2, Mike Lee 0 1-2 1. Totals 31 12-22 80.
3-pointers: Moore (4), Davis, Smith.
AIKEN 57, SILVER BLUFF 14
Aiken’s girls got out to a big lead early and didn’t look back, as the Hornets (4-2) coasted to a 43-point win over Silver Bluff (3-2).
Especially in the opening quarters, Aiken used defensive pressure to keep the Bulldogs from even getting a shot off on many possessions. Coupled with a balanced offensive attack, the Hornets used that defense, a “major part of our game” in the words of head coach Aubrey Pompey, to open up a 32-6 halftime lead.
“Defensively, we feel confident,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of different people that can score the ball.”
He was also pleased with the fact that his team’s big lead allowed him to get his reserves in the game for big stretches of the game, including all of the fourth quarter. That was after Erin Gilmore led the way with 18 points despite getting a healthy amount of rest.
As for the Bulldogs, head coach Lashanteau Green said she was satisfied with her team’s efforts early, but noted that nothing seemed to be working for Silver Bluff starting in the second quarter. That included the free-throw line, where the Bulldogs went 2-for-12 on the night.
“We started off good,” She said. “In the second quarter, everything just went cold, defense and all.”
Both of Silver Bluff’s losses this season have come against the Hornets.