LEWISVILLE 72, FOX CREEK 58
By IRVIN GOODWIN
The (Rock Hill) Herald
CHESTER — The game ball had to have been sliced up like a piece of pie and distributed evenly to every player on the Lewisville roster following a 72-58 win over Fox Creek in the third round of the Class A playoffs. That’s because multiple players came up huge on both ends of the court to spark the Lions (14-11) to their first appearance in the Upper State championship game since the 2003-04 season.
Point guard Mardarious Bailey directed a steady attack with 11 points. Qua Walls brought plenty of energy by soaring over the Predator defense to throw down an alley-oop dunk to ignite a second-quarter rally.
Guard Kale Whorthy came through with consecutive 3-pointers after Fox Creek rallied to cut an 18-point lead down to 11 early in the third. Center Cody Montgomery came up huge defensively with five blocked shots to go along with 10 points.
All of the pieces came together for the Lions, who had nine-of-11 players get into the scoring column in the blowout victory Tuesday on a neutral site at the Chester High School gymnasium.
“It starts with great ball movement and with our defense,” Lewisville coach Larry Davis said after getting a Gatorade bath in the post-game celebration. “We do not want to be in a position where we rely on only one or two players.”
The Lions used that balance to open a 37-19 lead with 2:48 left in the first half after Walls soared high during a half-court set to take a lob pass from Bailey for the one-handed throw down.
“We work on that play all the time in practice,” Walls said. “(Bailey) threw it up there and I had to go get it. That was a big momentum changer for us, especially in getting the crowd excited.”
Fox Creek (20-7) tempered the Lion momentum when Brandyn Quiller sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer and trimmed the deficit to 15.
The Predators generated a run and cut the deficit to 43-32 when Quiller swished the nets from beyond the arc with 5:17 remaining. All of a sudden, the Fox Creek fans began to make noise with signs of a potential rally.
But the Lions quickly answered the challenge. Whorthy launched two consecutive 3-pointers from the corner and Montgomery sank a turnaround jumper in the lane to push the lead back to 51-34.
Brandon Gladney scored on the interior for the Predators, but the Lions ended the quarter strong, scoring the final six points for their biggest lead at that point, 57-36. Lewisville carried the momentum into the fourth, scoring eight of the first 11 points to increase the margin to 27 midway through the fourth. That gave Davis the luxury of substituting freely with reserves and allowing the Predators to post 22 points down the stretch to close the final deficit to 14.
Predator coach Andre Baskett tipped his hat to the Lions, but also credited his team for a solid season.
“We have six solid seniors who led by example. We got this far because of our defense, even though we had the kind of game like we had tonight.”
Lewisville will take on the Christ Church-C.A. Johnson winner Saturday at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville for the Class A Upper State title.
Fox Creek 14 10 12 22 – 58
Lewisville 21 18 18 15 – 72
Fox Creek (20-7)—Brandyn Quiller 14, D.J. Curry 9, Marques Summer 5, Brandon Gladney 2, Darshon Broadwater 5, Martell Allen 2, Chris Harmon 19, Trey Heflin 2.
3-pointers: Quiller (3), Curry, Harmon.
Lewisville(14-11)—Mardarius Bailey 11, Jarvis Elder 4, Obie Sardui 5, Kale Whorthy 15, Qua Walls 11, Evan Sisk 4, Dre Bailey 9, Cody Montgomery 10, Garrett Mullis 3.
3-pointers: Whorthy (2), Walls, D. Bailey, M. Bailey.