Thurmond survives late Mid-Carolina rally

JOHNSTON -- Friday's Region 3-AA contest between Strom Thurmond High School and Mid-Carolina High School was a tale of two Rebels - both literally and figuratively. On one hand, Strom Thurmond's Rebels defeated Mid-Carolina High School's Rebels 65-59 to improve to 6-0 in region play. On the other hand, Strom Thurmond watched a 26-point halftime lead dwindle down to six points in the game's waning moments - much to coach Leroy "Bo" Rouse's chagrin. "A win's a win, and we'll take it, but I'm not pleased at all," Rouse said after Friday's game. "We did everything right in the first half. In the second half, we relaxed because we thought the game was over." Strom Thurmond improved to 11-6 overall. Mid-Carolina fell to 8-8 and 1-5 in region play. Both halves opened with a strong defensive play from Strom Thurmond's Tra'ves Bush. Bush forced a turnover from a Mid-Carolina guard near Thurmond's bench to start the game. At the start of the second half, Bush swatted away a layup attempt from a driving C.J. Edwards of Mid-Carolina. Bush's initial play jumpstarted a 17-4 run for Strom Thurmond, which continually attacked Mid-Carolina's defense with its relentless transition offense in the first half. Demarkus Smith, who led Thurmond with 18 points, and teammate Javon Brown, who added 17 points, extended Mid-Carolina's defense with their own special skills. Smith, who poured in a pair of three-pointers during the run, scored 11 of his final tally in the opening frame. Meanwhile, Brown scored in a myriad of ways - the most exciting a high-flying bank off the glass after he received an inbounds pass from Mike Kemp. Everything seemed to go Thurmond's way in the first half. Nick Williamson drove in the midst of Mid-Carolina traffic in the key and missed a layup. As he fell to the floor, the missed shot bounced to him. From his backside, he found teammate Jerel Johnson for a basket that helped Thurmond to a 24-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The only thing that kept Mid-Carolina in the game was Calvin Herbert, who scored 20 points to lead all scorers and converted on eight of his team's 21 total points in the first half. Still, Thurmond was off to the races. Kemp, Brown and Williamson continued to get to the cup, which powered the group's 47-21 lead at halftime. Strom Thurmond's free-flowing offense turned frenetic in the second half, though. A handful of turnovers frustrated Rouse, who implored his team to "slow down, guys!" Meanwhile, Mid-Carolina slowly looked to chip away at the lead. The group went on a 13-2 third-quarter run to cut its deficit to 49-34. Only Smith's tough driving layup ended the run and helped Thurmond to a 53-34 lead at the end of three quarters. In the fourth, Mid-Carolina's Herbert and Mac Lake looked to pull off the improbable. Herbert scored seven in the period, while Lake scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth. His last basket - a putback off of an offensive rebound - cut Thurmond's lead to 65-59 with 5.8 seconds left. Mid-Carolina missed a late three, though, and Thurmond escaped with the victory. Mid-Carolina 10 11 13 25 -- 59 Strom Thurmond 24 23 6 12 -- 65 MID-CAROLINA (59) Hubert Wicker 4, Mac Lake 16, Tevins Walker 8, Calvin Herbert 20, C.J. Edwards 6, Krishawn Hollet 4, Trentrez Jackson 1. STROM THURMOND (65) Nick Williamson 2, DeMarkus Smith 18, Lawrence Moore 3, Mike Kemp 5, Jerel Johnson 2, Keith Andrews 2, Alex Parks 13, Javon Brown 17, Tra'ves Bush 3. Strom Thurmond Girls 55 Mid-Carolina Girls 23 Strom Thurmond High School defeated Mid-Carolina High School 55-23 in a Region III-AA girls' varsity basketball game Friday. Courtney Mealing scored 31 points to lead Strom Thurmond (16-4, 6-0 regionally). Citiyah Burton added 10 points for Strom Thurmond, which held Mid-Carolina to six second-half points. Mid-Carolina 8 9 2 4 -- 23 Strom Thurmond 19 16 7 13 -- 55 MID-CAROLINA (23) Amanda Richardson 6, Teyonna Marshall 5, Erin Bailey 8, Latoria Wallace 4. STROM THURMOND (55) Amanda Parks 5, Octavia Etheredge 2, Courtney Mealing 31, Junicia Lee 3, Citiyah Burton 10, Charnise Jackson 1, Takiyah Clark 1, A'Dreanna Truesdell 2. Strom Thurmond JV Boys 41 Mid-Carolina JV Boys 22 Strom Thurmond High School defeated Mid-Carolina High School 41-22 in a junior varsity boys' basketball game Friday. Johntavious Mealing led Strom Thurmond with nine points.