FLORENCE, S.C. – Hartsville High School coach Yusuf English warned his team prior to Thursday’s contest against South Florence in the opening game of the Pepsi Carolina Classic.
“I told them South Florence was a very good, well-coached team that could shoot,” English said. “And if they didn’t watch out, South would jump on them.”
That’s exactly what happened as the defending tournament champions found themselves looking up at an 11-point deficit in the third quarter.
But behind Trae Hannibal and Cesare Edwards, the Red Foxes rallied – outscoring the Bruins 41-28 in the second half en route to a 62-50 victory.
Hartsville will now face the Darlington today at 6 p.m. South will play Marion in the 2:30 p.m. game.
“The team stepped up,” English said of his squad’s effort in the second half. “We started playing a little bit better defense and we started making layups. We really did a good job of just playing good team basketball. We shared the ball well. It was an amazing second half.
“Cesare really stepped up in the third – rebounded well, shot the ball well and protected around the rim.”
Edwards scored all 12 of his points in the second half while also pulling down 11 rebounds. He combined with Hannibal to put up 26 of the Red Foxes’ 41 points after the break. Hannibal led all scorers with 23 points less than 24 hours after recording his 1,000th career point in Hartsville’s Chick-Fil-A Classic game against York in Columbia.
Hartsville was slated to play another game on Thursday in Columbia in the Chick-Fil-A Classic as well.
The loss negated a stellar game from SF’s Justice Jackson. Jackson led the Bruins with 21 points including 14 in the third quarter alone. He had eight rebounds and hit three of South’s six 3-pointers in the game and had nine points in the opening minutes of the second half during an 11-2 run to open the period.
But it all went for naught as the Red Foxes closed out the third on a 21-6 run.
“Basketball 101 – we forgot to block out,” Bruins coach John Schweitz said. “We gave them six straight stick-backs when we make them take six straight bad shots. Until we learn that every play counts, were going to continue to struggle.
“We knew if we could rebound we could run with them.”
The Bruins were in the lead at the half. They got baskets from six different players in the second quarter and had a 10-0 run to grab an 18-12 lead at one point.
But Hannibal made a pair of baskets and three other Red Foxes found the net as Hartsville pulled within 22-21 at the break.
SF 8 14 19 9 – 50
H 10 11 23 18 – 62
SOUTH FLORENCE (50)
Justice Jackson 21, Sparks 8, Weatherford 7, Rainey 6, Medley 2, Gallo 2, Timmons 2, Mason 2.
Trae Hannibal 23, Cesare Edwards 12, Pendergraz 8, Coffie 7, O’Neal 7, Chapman 3, Harry 2.
RECORDS: HHS 5-5, SFHS 3-7.
NEXT GAMES: Hartsville will play Darlington in the 6 p.m. game today while South Florence will face Marion in the 2:30 p.m. contest.