With the win the Wolves advance to the semi-finals to take on top seed Winterboro on Friday at 7 p.m.
“We had some trouble during the first half,” Fayetteville head coach Grant Maddox said. “ASD did an incredible job defensive wise. I noticed they wanted us to shoot from the outside. I know from other teams that I have seen us play we have shot the ball well from the outside. They did their job of preventing us from getting the ball from the inside and that is how the game got so close as far as the score was concerned. I talked to my team in the second half and told them that we have to do a better job of getting the ball around. We are standing still too much; try to work the ball to the inside. We tried to overload one side of the court and tried to get the ball on the inside. I told them not to stop shooting, because it will fall. We missed a lot of shots that we should have made, that’s why they kept it so close.”
The Wolves jumped to an early lead in the first quarter thanks to Tyari Powell. The junior scored five points in the first quarter, which included a one hand flush off of a ASD turnover to make it 7-3 with 4:40 left in the quarter. His 3-pointer gave Fayetteville a 12-6 lead. The Silent Warriors went to work in the low post to cut the lead down going into the second quarter. Cody Maddox and Eddie Thomas scored on layups to cut the lead down to 12-10.
ASD carried their first quarter momentum into the second quarter. Anthony Scott and Cody Maddox scored layups to give ASD a 14-12 with 6:10 left in the half.
Fayetteville struggled offensively in the second quarter. Their first point of the quarter came with 1:12 left in the half off a Justin Lawson free throw. CJ Townsend hit their only basket of the half to give the Wolves a 15-14 lead with 19 seconds left. Maddox ended the half with a layup to put the Silent Warriors up 16-15 at halftime.
The game went back and forth in the third quarter. Powell finally found his shot in the quarter. He nailed two 3 pointers including one to make it 28-24. Thomas kept ASD in the game as he scored seven points in the quarter, which included a free throw to cut their lead down to 28-27 with 1:13 left in the period. Tyler Pennington hit a bank shot at the buzzer to increase Fayetteville’s lead to 30-27 going into the final quarter.
Fayetteville opened the quarter on an 11-4 run to increase their lead to 41-31. CJ Townsend opened the quarter with layup to make it 32-27. Justin Lawson’s layup increased their lead to 34-27.
The Silent Warriors battled their way back to cut the lead down to 34-31 on baskets by Rydrea Walker and Eddie Thomas. At that point, Fayetteville senior Zach McGrady took control of the game. The senior nailed a midrange jumper to push the lead back to 37-31 with 3:30 left in the game. With McGrady on the court, Fayetteville didn’t get flustered when ASD applied their full court press. Townsend scored a layup to increase the lead back to eight points. Tyler Pennington sealed the victory with a 3-pointer to make it 43-33 with 1:40 left in the game.
The loss ends the season for the ASD Silent Warriors. Jabar Brice is the lone senior for ASD. Head coach Walter Ripley said his team has really improved from the beginning of the season until now.
“We have a good group of young kids,” Ripley said.” We only have one senior, the rest of the team are sophomores and freshmen. I am going to keep working with them and they will improve. From the start of the year, they have improved greatly.”
Eddie Thomas led the Silent Warriors in scoring with 17 points.
Tyari Powell led Fayetteville with 11 points, while CJ Townsend had 10 points and Zach McGrady contributed nine points.
“Winterboro is a good basketball team,” Maddox said. “Coach Smith is a great coach and he has them well trained. It is going to be a big battle. We have to go to work tomorrow and try to prepare the best we can for them. Hopefully, we can compete with them on Friday night.”