After the North Charleston girls basketball team advanced to the Class AA Lower State final with a win over Woodland on Monday night, the pressure was on the boys team to equal that accomplishment.
The Cougars managed to do just that with a 71-60 win over Allendale-Fairfax on Tuesday night, making sure both North Charleston teams would be playing Saturday at the Florence Civic Center.
Senior Deshawn Murray scored 30 points and fellow senior Darjawuan Brown added 28 for the Cougars, who improved to 19-6.
“They are the top two scorers in AA basketball in this state so we pretty much expect them to carry the load offensively,” North Charleston coach Christopher Brown said. “People really pay a lot of attention to Doggie (Brown), for good reason, but Murray is a big-time scorer. They were big for us tonight.”
The Cougars used a 12-2 run over the last five minutes of the second quarter to take a 31-21 halftime lead. That margin grew to 15 points quickly in the third quarter and North Charleston led 57-36 heading into the final period.
But North Charleston does nothing easy. With a 65-45 lead at the four-minute mark, the Cougars got careless with the ball and missed a bevy of free throws. The visiting Tigers connected on a pair of 3-pointers and trimmed the lead to 68-59 with 1:15 remaining in the game. North Charleston managed to add three free throws and ran out the clock.
“With the way we play, it’s hard for us to just stop playing and slow it down,” Brown said. “I know the fans get all worked up when it starts to get close but I have complete confidence in my guys. We know how to win the game and the margin isn’t really important. It’s just about getting the win and advancing.”
The Charleston Math & Science boys also reached the Lower State finals, beating Bethune-Bowman, 54-50, in Class A. The Riptide will play in Florence on Friday night.
Goose Creek failed in its bid to advance on Tuesday, losing on the road to Conway, 41-40, in Class AAAAA.
The Porter-Gaud girls team advanced to the Class AAA SCISA semifinals with a 55-52 win over First Baptist. Porter-Gaud will play defending state champion Cardinal Newman on Friday at the Sumter Civic Center.
Northwood Academy also advanced in the SCISA AAA girls tournament with a 60-34 win over Orangeburg Prep. The Chargers will play Florence Christian in the other semifinal game on Friday.