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Jaguars gut out comeback wins, sweep War Eagles again

Kingstree/CEM basketball round 2

In the second round of a Williamsburg County showdown between Kingstree and C.E. Murray, the Jaguars once again swept the War Eagles winning both varsity games. 

One week after heated games between Kingstree High and C.E. Murray’s basketball teams, the teams were once again back at it in Greeleyville. However, the result was the same, wins for the Jaguars.

It wasn’t easy for KHS as they had to come from behind by double-digits in both the girls’ and boys’ varsity games. In the end, the Lady Jags won 43-39 and the boys won 68-63 in games that had questionable officiating.

In the girls’ varsity game, the Lady War Eagles opened up a seven-point lead in the first quarter at 12-5, only to see the Lady Jags go on a 5-0 to cut the deficit to just one at the end of the first quarter.

C.E. Murray would then go on a 9-1 run to build a 10-point lead. The Lady Jaguars only point came off a free throw as the team struggled to hit shots.

“These are these long doldrums of not scoring is frustrating,” KHS head coach James Price said.

The Lady Jags would respond to cut the deficit to just five once more at halftime at 23-18. Price told his team at halftime that despite their inability to hit shots, they were still in the game. In the first half, he was yelling “keep shooting” from the bench to encourage his team.

In the second half, they did just that.

KHS would tie the game at 31 late in the third quarter before a Takiyah McGee three pointer would put the Lady Jags up 34-33 early in the fourth. McGee missed shots in the first half, but Price said he told her that her mechanics were right, and if she just kept shooting the shots would eventually fall.

The Lady Jags would open up a six-point lead and would see the game out and take a 43-39 win.

In the boys’ game, it was back-and-forth affair. The teams traded baskets in the opening quarter with no team able to generate separation. Early in the quarter, the War Eagles lost Henry Evans III to a knee injury and did not return. He needed help to get off the court and KHS’ Josh Cason was there to help, showing that even in a heated rivalry, sportsmanship can live on.

C.E. Murray head coach Neilson Hilton was absent from the bench for large chunks of the game following the Evans injury as he was helping attend to him. In his absence, Senator Ronnie Sabb was leading the War Eagles.

The Jags would open up a 12-8 lead late in the first quarter only to see the game tied at 14 at the end of the first eight minutes.

The second quarter featured some of the most questionable officiating of the night. The Jaguars bench was given a technical foul for having an issue with their scorebook. Later, a C.E. Murray player was given a technical foul in the run of play after a common foul was called, leading to some confusion by the officials. After missed call after missed call, one official had enough of one fan and asked law enforcement to remove him from the game. At the break, it was 29-17 Jaguars.

KHS head coach John Adkins, who missed last week’s matchup with a family emergency, said that he expects rivalries to be a back-and-forth affair and that his team just needed to ride the momentum and keep playing their game.

Things shifted on the Jaguars late in the third.

After taking a 42-40 lead, the War Eagles went on a 10-2 run to claim a 50-44 lead at the end of the third quarter.

“We started turning the ball over, and we didn't take care of the ball,” Adkins said. “C.E. Murray had a couple of really good shots, they hit some threes on us. They really claimed to play in the third quarter. And, they are to be commended for that.”

Quickly the six-point deficit became 11 and the Jaguars called timeout down 55-44 early in the fourth. In the timeout, Adkins said he told his team that “this is going to be a great story” and that they were going to come back and win, but they had to do it their way. To do it, they had to play better defense and start generating turnovers and get easy layups.

They did just that as they put on a full-court press and were able to cut the deficit to just one at 58-57 forcing a War Eagle timeout with 4:18 to play.

The Jaguars would take a 60-58 lead with three minutes to go. The teams would go back-and-forth down the stretch, neither wanting to give an inch, and neither getting the calls they felt they deserved from the officials.

With 1:49 to go and up two, Adkins called timeout to setup his offense. Out of the timeout, the team used the lack of a shot clock to their advantage and played a four corners style as they took more than a minute off the clock before the War Eagles were forced to foul to stop the clock.

The Jags were able to hit some free throws, but it was still a one possession game in the final moments. With 7.9 seconds left, and KHS up three, Adkins decided to press on the inbound pass and were able to get a steal, clinching the game.

“This team has guts,” Adkins said. “Miles and miles of guts.”

You can follow Brandon on twitter @brandon__alter for latest updates. You can reach him by email him at 

Brandon Alter covers the town of Kingstree and Williamsburg County for The Kingstree News. He is from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of South Carolina's school of Journalism and Mass Communications in May 2021.

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