MOUNT PLEASANT - Greg Archie raised his children to understand that the team comes first and respect is earned, not given.
So when his youngest son, Isaiah, didn’t make the all-state team last week, Greg encouraged him to prove himself in other ways.
“My dad told me, ‘Don’t worry about individual awards. Don’t worry about all-state,’ ” Isaiah said. “He told me to win the state instead. Let that talk.”
Isaiah Archie helped move Oceanside Collegiate one step closer to that goal with a team-best 24 points in the Landsharks’ 69-63 win over Woodland in the Class AA state quarterfinals Tuesday night.
Oceanside, winner of 13 straight, will collide with sister-school Gray in the Lower State championship game Friday at the Florence Civic Center.
“We’re on a big run, but we can’t celebrate,” Archie said. “We know there’s a lot left to do, and as seniors, it’s our job to lead the way.”
Oceanside fell behind 25-16 as all-state Wolverines guard Michael Shuler reeled off a quick seven-point spurt in about 90 seconds midway through the second quarter. Oceanside trimmed the gap to 26-25 by halftime, though, closing the final three minutes on a 9-2 run in which six different Landsharks scored.
“It’s a team effort with us - no individuals,” Oceanside senior Shane McCravy said with a small gash below his left eye. “They were playing us physical. That’s fine. It’s win or go home. We don’t care if they’re going hard at us. We can go hard, too.”
McCravy put Oceanside ahead with a bucket 30 seconds into the third quarter. The Landsharks never trailed again, and Archie made sure of it. Archie poured in 15 points in the third frame, including eight in the last 2:45 as Oceanside scored the final 14 points of the quarter to take a 54-40 lead into the fourth.
“We normally have big third quarters. I don’t know what it is,” Oceanside coach Quinton Hollis said. “We’re mentally tough. I told them at halftime that we’re going to go as far as they want to go. They came out and played like they want to go Florence.”
Shuler caught fire in the fourth quarter with 13 points in just over three minutes to pull Woodland within 63-61 with 1:54 left. McCravy stopped the run with a layup. Archie then picked Shuler’s pocket at half-court with less than a minute to play and Oceanside finished the game with its starters celebrating on the bench.
Gray coasted past Mullins 76-47 in their third-round matchup on Tuesday. Gray finished the season ranked first in AA. Oceanside was second. The War Eagles dealt the Landsharks their first loss of the season, 75-56 in early December. McCravy said the Landsharks are a much different team now, though, and that the Landsharks hoped they’d see the War Eagles again in the postseason.
“Sheer will to win at this point,” McCravy said of his team's mentality in these latter rounds of the playoffs. “This is the moment. Who really wants it? We’re ready. We’re hungry.”
Oceanside and Gray will tip off at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Florence.