In a game we anticipated a big matchup down low between Spartanburg's 6'7 Omar Sanders and Hillcrest's 6'8 Steadman Short one of the game's shortest players, 5'11 PG Zycorrian Robinson and teammate Riquentin Miller stole the show. The Vikings blew a 21 point lead in the third quarter but came through down the stretch thanks in great part due to the play of Robinson and Miller.
Robinson, a scoring point guard, set the tone early for the Vikings as they traded baskets early on with the Rams. When the Vikings needed a bucket Robinson found a way to carry his team. Teammate and All-State selection Omar Sanders had a very tough go of it as his shots were simply not falling against the Rams. Robinson along with Raquentin Miller powered the Vikings throughout. The Vikings also benefited with Hillcrest's standout PF Steadman Short getting in early foul trouble accumulating his 3rd foul early in the second quarter. The halftime score favored the Vikings 33-22.
The third quarter saw things unravel even further for the Rams early on as they were called for 4 or 5 technical fouls and found themselves down by 21 points with about 5 minutes to go in the third. Things got a little heated as most playoff games do but cooler heads prevailed and the referees and coaches did a good job settling the teams down.
The resilient Rams behind some huge three pointers by SG Patrick Neely and great pressing defense surged from behind before the home crowd and finished the third quarter ahead 49-46. It appeared that the Rams were going to carry that momentum into the final quarter after sending the crowd into a frenzy with their rally. The Spartanburg team was in shock but coach Doug Lowe gathered his team and he obviously knew it was time to put the ball back in the hands of his senior point guard Robinson.
Robinson nailed a trey to open the fourth quarter and calmed the raucous Hillcrest crowd and rally. The Vikings also managed to break through the Rams defensive press and get a few easy buckets which forced Hillcrest to change their defensive approach. As the Vikings slowed down the pace wanting to let the clock run they kept the ball in the hands of Robinson, Sanders, and Miller primarily late. The Rams missed the shooting ability of Neeley as he fouled out and their perimeter shots just would not fall as they tried to make another run at the Vikings.
Sanders came up with a few key baskets finally in the fourth quarter. He struggled from the charity stripe going l of 9 but made his presence felt defensively swatting four or five shots along the way. He also showed off some ballhandling ability at his size as well but the night belonged to Robinson and Miller for the Vikings.
Savad Garner lead Hillcrest with 19 points coming off the bench while Neeley scored 15 points all coming from behind the arc. South Carolina State bound running back Chris Merrill chipped in 10 points while manning the point for the Rams.
Spartanburg will next play Wren in the AAAA Upper State championship game at Littlejohn Coliseum on the campus of Clemson University. SCPrepNation.com will be there to bring you the all the highlights and news so keep it locked right here!
Stay tuned for premium recruiting updates with Spartanburg's Omar Sanders and Zycorrian Robinson as they remain some of the top players on the 2008 recruiting board for the Palmetto State. We'll also have updates with some Hillcrest football standouts who are starting to make some noise on the recruiting map as well. If you're not a premium SCPrepNation.com subscriber try the free 7-day trial and see why we're the new #1 leader in South Carolina high school recruiting and sports coverage.