COLUMBIA — In a game that featured Abbeville guard and Tulsa signee Joseph Battle, it was Timberland’s Dailyn McKinney who shined under the lights in the Colonial Life Arena on Saturday afternoon.
McKinney, who scored a team-high 26 points, had his last second 3-point attempt come up just short as the Wolves fell, 58-55, in the Class AA boys championship game.
“We played hard today. We defended and I’m proud of these young men,” Timberland head coach Jerome Stewart said. “They did what we asked all season. They left it all on the floor. We were one possession too short, three points too short. We were right there and we gave ourselves an opportunity to win. These guys are resilient, but we’ll keep our heads held high.”
Trailing by one, Timberland’s Waun’Ye Cox drained a jump shot with 1:29 remaining to put the Wolves ahead, 55-54. Abbeville took the lead after a pair of made free throws by Battle and added another point when Jamie Gray converted 1 of 2 at the charity stripe.
Another foul shot by Battle pushed the Panthers’ advantage to three with 24 seconds to play, and Timberland had one final chance to tie the game. McKinney elevated over a defender from just beyond the arc, but his long-range attempt grazed the front rim as time expired.
“We had no timeouts and they knew we had to shoot the three,” Stewart said. “You miss some, you make some, and at least he shot it, because the ones you don’t shoot can never go in.”
D.J. Johnson had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Ra Anderson chipped in with 10 points for the Wolves, who finished the season with a 23-6 record.
Timberland built a 7-1 lead early but trailed 18-16 after the first quarter. In the second, Drake Campbell and McKinney hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minute of the second period to send the teams into the break even at 33.
Tied at 41 through three quarters, the Wolves took a 47-45 lead early in the fourth after a pair of free throws by Johnson, but Abbeville responded with seven consecutive points to take a five-point lead.
Timberland bounced back with a jumper by Anderson and two more foul shots from McKinney. McKinney’s layup with two minutes remaining put the Wolves back in front, 53-52, but Battle dropped in a runner to send Abbeville ahead again.
(Frankie Mansfield/Moultrie News)Timberland's Ra Anderson (33) defends during the boys Class AA basketball state championship game against Abbeville. Timberland lost, 58-55.×