James Island stages late comeback to knock off Wando

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The defending state Class AAAA champions from Wando may well be the best boys basketball team in the Lowcountry. But, for one night at least, James Island can stake claim to the mantra.

The Trojans rallied from an eight-point deficit over the final four minutes and upset the state’s top-ranked Class AAAA team, 63-62, on Friday night.

Senior guard Brady Schuck led a late game charge with six points and two key assists, hitting the game-winning off balance shot in the lane with 19 seconds left in the game. Schuck finished with 17 points, while teammate Vince Cole, a junior wing, scored 18. Cole’s three-pointer with 27 seconds left in the game pulled the Trojans to within a point of the lead at 62-61.

Wando (12-4, 1-1) missed three of four free throw attempts in the final 45 seconds after making 15 of their first 18 attempts in the game.

“This lets us know that we can play with the big boys,” said James Island coach Stan Wilkins. “This is our best team since I’ve been here and here we have the defending state champions right here in our region.

“This is probably the best game I’ve ever been associated with as a coach. We were down at least seven points four times in the game. Maybe earlier in the year we would have folded but I think this team has gained a lot of confidence in the early part of the year.”

James Island improved to 11-4 overall and is now 2-0 in Region 7-AAAA play. The win also avenges a loss to 59-38 loss to Wando in the second round of the Rotary Roundball Classic.

“We expected a wild one,” said Wando coach David Eaton. “I give credit to James Island. They hit some really unbelievable shots late in the game, and we didn’t handle the end of the game very well. The biggest disappointment for me was our defense. We scored 62 points, and that should be enough for us to win any game.”

Schuck sparked James Island early, capping a 9-0 run with a three-point play to give the Trojans a 13-6 lead with 2:40 left in the opening quarter.

Wando, however, answered the run with a 10-2 run of its own and James Island held on for a 19-18 lead after one period.

With the game tied at 21, Wando scored seven straight to grab a 28-21 lead on Moore’s jumper with 2:41 remaining in the half. After James Island cut the lead to 31-29 on Schuck’s layup with 15 seconds left, Majewski answered on the other end with a 3-pointer to give Wando a 34-29 lead at the break.

Majewski opened the third period just as he ended the second, drilling a trey in the first 30 seconds of the quarter to give Wando a 37-29 advantage.

The Trojans, however, would not go down easy. Back-to-back three-pointers from Davis and Cole and a layup by Schuck tied the game at 37 with 5:40 left in the third.

Wando answered once more as a dunk and two free throws from Rogers gave Wando a 45-42 lead with 3:35 remaining. The Warriors led, 47-44, heading into the pivotal fourth quarter.

Wando stretched the margin to eight at 57-49 midway through the quarter before James Island began its comeback.

Wando moved ahead 61-54 with 1:35 on Matt Pegram’s dunk but managed only a free throw down the crucial stretch.

Junior wing Jamez Rogers led Wando with 16 points but spent the last three minutes on the bench after fouling out. Amp Moore added 13, Taylor Majewski 11 and Pegram finished with 10 points.

James Island forward Maurice Hardimon tallied 10 points and 11 rebounds while Schuck finished with nine assists and four steals.

James Island won despite an eight-for-20 effort from the free throw line.

Wando (62): Jamez Rogers 16, Amp Moore 13, Taylor Majewski 11, Matt Pegram 10, McFadden 6, Delongchamps 5, Morrow 1.

James Island (63): Vince Cole 18, Brady Schuck 17, Maurice Hardimon 10, Munn 8, Davis 6, McDaniel 2, Braswell 2.