Quick out of the Gate
Like a champion sprinter, the Gaffney Indians were quick out of the blocks and had a strong kick in defeating third-seeded Nation Ford 85-65 in its opening round Class 5A playoff matchup Wednesday at The Burial Ground.
About four minutes into the game, Bradley Childers drove past a Nation Ford defender to put the Indians up 14-2.
He wasn’t done. Childers scored 18 of his game-high 24 points in the first half to propel the Indians to the convincing win.
“Bradley came out and played well,” Gaffney coach Mark Huff said.
Huff said he admonished Childers for passing up an open look early on and instructed him to keep on shooting.
Ladarius Foster had a strong game off the bench with 16 points, while Mystikal Tate had 13 and Tay Kershaw added 10 for the Indians, who advance to the second round and will play at Wade Hampton on Saturday.
The Gaffney pressure defense seemed to frazzle the Falcons, who had 11 turnovers in the first half.
Gaffney big man Sadarius Bowser scored on a designed inbounds play to extend the cushion to 24- 10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Indians opened the second quarter on a 20-3 run to push the advantage to 44-13 after a Tate 3- pointer and a nifty up and under basket by Foster.
To their credit, the Falcons didn’t pack it in. Trailing 48-21 at the half, Nation Ford outscored Gaffney 27-11 in the third to make it a 59-48 margin heading into the fourth quarter.
In the opening minute of the fourth quarter, Tate and Childers had back to back hoops to help Gaffney regain the momentum.
“I told the guys at the half (Nation Ford) wouldn’t give up,” Huff said. “We shot too many threes, but our guys hung in there. Overall, we played well but in the third quarter, we didn’t play smart.”
Zeb Graham had 20 points and Eric Moulds had 23 to pace the Falcons, who finished with seven 3- pointers.
The Indians shot 50 percent from the field.