SUMTER — Sumter High School won the first half of its Class AAAA boys basketball second-round state playoff game with West Ashley on Saturday, but an 8-0 Wildcats run to open the second half began what would turn out to be a back-and-forth finish.
In the end, it was West Ashley that came out on top, 49-45, largely due to a 24-point effort from David Hodije, who connected for six 3-pointers.
The Wildcats improved to 20-4 heading into the next round against South Aiken, a 66-64 winner over South Florence.
For Sumter coach Shawn Jones, it was a frustrating finish to a season in which the Gamecocks hoped to play for a second consecutive state championship.
“It was matchups. They had real small guards, quick,” said Jones, whose team closed with a 16-7 record. “No. 5 (Hodije), man, he had a great night tonight. That was pretty much it. Tough matchup for us. I thought we had an advantage in size, but we just couldn’t get it in there like we wanted to.”
Sumter got off to a quick start, scoring nine straight after an opening basket by West Ashley. Then Hodije hit his first two 3s to pull the visitors within one, 9-8, at the end of one.
The Gamecocks quickly went back up by six, 15-9, after Cedric Rembert banked in a trey at the 5:35 mark of the second. Sumter maintained the lead through the remainder of the half, with West Ashley pulling within one on two occasions. A Kenyatta Jenkins basket with 26 seconds to go pulled the Wildcats within three, 21-18.
After the 8-0 run to open the second half, which put West Ashley up 26-21, Sumter answered with an Andrew Tiller three and a low-post bucket from Rembert to tie the score. The Gamecocks led by five, 36-31, with an inside basket from Raymond Johnson before another 8-0 Wildcat run put West Ashley up by three, 39-36, heading to the fourth.
The run stretched to 13-0 in the fourth quarter, giving the Wildcats the largest lead of the night, 44-36. Sumter hit just 2 of 5 free-throw attempts in the final 1:19, including a missed opportunity to tie late. The last miss came with five seconds left as a lane violation was called after an Ahmad Peoples miss with Sumter trailing by two.
Charles Patton was whistled for an intentional foul with four seconds on the clock, sending Ahmad Green to the line. Green hit both shots to seal the Gamecocks’ fate.
Shelton Brown scored 13 points for the Wildcats.
WEST ASHLEY 49, SUMTER 45
WAHS 8 10 21 10 -- 49
SHS 9 12 15 9 -- 45
Williams 4, David Hodije 24, Green 4, Shelton Brown 13, Jenkins 2, Kinloch 2.
Tiller 3, Williams 5, Rembert 9, Simon 1, Patton 5, Jaylenn Corbett 12, Peoples 5, Singleton 3, Johnson 2.