Greenville High School being the defending AAA state champions gets the best game each team facing them has to offer and Saturday proved no different. The Wade Hampton Generals have improved throughout the season and not many would have predicted them to be playing for the Upper State title on Saturday. With a nice mix of players head coach Darryl Nance had his team ready to battle for upstate supremacy. Standouts like Zach Babbitt (North Greenville commit), Tank Mattison, Shane Copeland, Adrian Caldwell, and Devin Dwyer powered the Generals through the playoffs and they came out showing now fear of the defending state champions.
The Red Raiders came out with an air of confidence but far from cocky. There was a sense of purpose in their eyes and they were eager to try and take the next step to returning to the Colonial Center in Columbia.
The Generals came out firing with big buckets by Shane Copeland and Adrian Caldwell early on. Their eyes may have been wide because Greenville's Anthony Breeze (Coastal Carolina commit) started the game on the bench and throughout the crowd General and Red Raider fans were wondering why Breeze was relegated to the bench. Each time the Generals tried to put some distance between themselves and the Raiders though Greenville's Shannon Foster or Tommie Lee Hawkins would answer with big baskets to keep it within reach.
It wouldn't be long though before Breeze would enter the contest and he made his presence felt immediately. Snatching rebounds high out of the air on the defensive end and wheeling around defenders in traffic for buckets Breeze asserted some stability for Dondi McGowan's team. Poor fouls though sent him back to the bench as Wade Hampton continued to fight back to keep it close. While Breeze sat on the bench McGowan turned to Hawkins for firepower and the senior didn't disappoint. Time and time again Hawkins at 5'8 skied in traffic for big offensive rebounds and scored over Wade Hampton's two big men Babbitt and Dwyer who both stand 6'6. Once again though Shannon Foster came up big knocking down a huge three pointer right before the half to push the Greenville lead to 27-20.
Shane Copeland put forth a great effort with 18 points. The Red Raiders neutralized the Generals' big men inside as the only other General in double figures was Adrian Caldwell with 12.
Hawkins powered the Red Raiders with 22 points and 16 rebounds while Shannon Foster chipped in with 12 points. The Red Raiders record stands at 22-4 while Wade Hampton ends their season at 18-9. The Red Raiders will next face Wilson High for the AAA state championship in Columbia at the Colonial Center.