SUMTER - In previous state tournament games, Charleston Collegiate waited until the second quarter to deliver the knockout punch. Saturday, the Sun Devils delivered the big blow soon after the opening bell.
Charleston Collegiate jumped to a 26-9 lead after one quarter against Oakbrook Prep in the Class AA state championship at the Sumter Civic Center. The Sun Devils then shifted to cruise control and gained a 77-56 victory over Oakbrook Prep to win the state title.
The Sun Devils finally got over the state semifinal bump in the road. They were the favorites to win the state title the past two years, but suffered upsets. Last year, Oakbrook Prep knocked off the Sun Devils.
Saturday, the Sun Devils got revenge and an impressive trophy.
"It didn't matter who we played," Charleston Collegiate coach Jay Godbolt said. "We knew what happened last year. But we didn't focus on Oakbrook Prep. We wanted to come out and play our game, play at our pace."
The Sun Devils had some impressive second quarters in the state tournament. They scored 46 points in the second stanza against Richard Winn, and 33 in the second period against Thomas Sumter. But the Sun Devils wanted to remove any anxieties early against the Knights. The 26-9 lead was proof of mission accomplished.
The Sun Devils led 49-22 at halftime against the Knights, who were denied their second straight title.
Charleston Collegiate finished with a 28-3 record. Oakbrook Prep checked out with a 19-10 record.
"Getting this win, getting this championship, was very important for us," said senior Je'Quan Perry, who led all scorers with 29 points. "After losing in the semifinals our sophomore and junior years, we had to close it out the right way. This feels great."
Manny Smalls added 21 points, Arturo Mata 12 and Ty Solomon 10.
Solomon has been a consistent scorer all year, but he's best at distributing the ball.
"I don't think you can replace Solomon at point guard with just one player," Godbolt said. "You have to have a group of players. It's the same thing with Perry. He does his thing on offense and defense. We will need an all-round team effort to fill his shoes."
Kris White led Oakbrook Prep with 16 points and Colton Ayers chipped in with 14.
But Oakbrook couldn't keep up with Charleston Collegiate.
"We did a lot of things right today," Godbolt said. "We are going to run up and down the court. We are going to outrebound you. We are going to outwork you."
Charleston Collegiate 26 23 12 16 --77
Oakbrook Prep 9 13 15 19 --56
Charleston Collegiate (77): Smalls 21, Mata 12, Chadwick 2, Perry 29, Solomon 10, Jefferson 1, Smith 1, Knox 1.
Oakbrook Prep (56): Ayers 14, White 16, McGettrick 4, Hollanback 4, Leath 1, Dominique 2, Wilborne 1, Pauzadeux 8, Gannon 6.
Records: Charleston Collegiate 28-3, Oakbrook Prep 19-10.