Cardinal men in state AA round two Saturday

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 16, 2017

It took Trey Smith hitting four successive three-pointers early in the game, and Manny Gonzalez taking charge with four two-point goals (including a one-handed dunk) in succession later on. It took Landrum’s usual withering defense. It took key plays by every member of the Cardinals, including Smith’s three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the score at 42 after three periods.

 It took this and more to turn back a talented and driven Fox Creek (North Augusta, S.C.) team, 63-56, in the first round of state AA playoffs at Landrum, but the Cardinals did just that on Wednesday, Feb. 15, and will visit Greenville Tech Charter School on Saturday, Feb. 18, in round two. Greenville Tech defeated North Central, 60-46, on Wednesday to earn its appearance.

 Foster Bridges scored the Cardinals’ first four points, giving the hosts leads of 2-0 and 4-1. Even with that effort, the Predators led 12-10 after the first quarter.

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 In the second quarter, Smith shot the net out from three-point range, to put the Cards up, 21-14, but the Predators came back to trail by just 27-26 at the half.

 Key rebounds helped Fox Creek stay in the game, and only Smith’s three-point bomb which zipped through the net at the buzzer, tied the game at 42, with eight minutes to go.

 Bridges scored first in the final period, giving Landrum a 44-42 lead. The Cardinals built a 49-44 advantage. Gonzalez helped the Cardinals pull away, his dunk putting the hosts ahead, 57-48. Once behind, the Predators fouled Landrum players, who responded with just enough baskets to put the game away. Gonzalez got four free throws on a technical, and made the first two. He was upset at missing the next two, but by then, it didn’t matter. The Cardinals were off to round two. 

Of Gonzalez’s eight-point outburst, “He took care of business,” head coach Lyn Smith noted. Smith also pointed out that the Cardinals, now 20-6 on the season, have posted eight straight wins.