Clarence Bertoli

Onward, Christian soldiers! Marching as to war!

The only way Laurens Academy could have performed more impressively would have been to conquer the Holy Land on Tuesday night.

Instead, the Crusaders merely clipped the Newberry Academy Eagles’ wings in back-to-back routs on their home court. The girls racked up a 46-15 triumph, and then the boys clobbered the Eagles, 42-24.

Jared Willard shot the lights out, scoring 16 points on 5-8 shooting from the field and 5-7 from the foul line for the boys.


Andrew Codington

Buddy Baker added 12 points on 5-10 shots. He never attempted a free throw. Andrew Codington scored 11 (5-7 FG).

As you may have suspected, Laurens Academy (10-9, 5-2 SCISA 4-A) shot well in general. The Crusaders shot .457 (16-35), better than from the foul line, .421 (8-19). LA led 13-6 after a quarter, 20-8 after a half and 32-17 after three periods. Brayden Burke added 3 points and Clarence Bertoli 1.

Bertoli, however, handed out 4 assists. The Crusaders forced 16 turnovers and committed only 4.

Ryan Brown paced Newberry Academy (4-8, 2-4) with 9 points. The Eagles shot .243 (9-37) from the field and hit 5-7 at the line. They shot .182 (4-22) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Newberry Academy won the rebounding battle, 38-24, but it was small consolation for the visitors.

“We have to do a better job inside with defensive rebounding,” LA boys coach Travis Plowden said. “That was a problem, but whenever it got a little tight we were able to make a run and pull back ahead. Our top five guys played well throughout the night.”


Olivia Huck

The girls game had little drama after the opening tip as Laurens Academy (10-7, 4-1) pitched a 9-0 1st-quarter shutout and led, 20-2, at halftime. It didn’t get much better for Newberry Academy (2-13, 0-6), which got 6 points apiece from both Bethany Sawyer and Jayla Williams.

LA won the rebounding battle, 25-21, and forced 24 turnovers while committing 8.

Olivia Huck was the Crusaders’ leading scorer with 19 points, popping all 5 free throws and burying 7-13 shots from the floor. She also had 4 assists.


Emily Suttles

Gracie Hall splashed 3 from long range for 9 points. Hannah Ervin and Emily Suttles each added 6, E.K. Moore chipped in 5 with 2 assists and Abby Howard had 1.

While Huck was 5-5, the rest of the team combined for 1-8.

From the field, the Crusaders shot .346 (18-52).

“I’m glad we got contributions from multiple players,” girls coach Jason Marlett said. “We need other girls to step up offensively to help Olivia (Huck) while we’re shorthanded.”

Rylee Ballard is out until at least Jan. 25.

“As the game went on, they kept their eyes up and looked for teammates, and we moved without the ball better,” Marlett added.

The Crusaders swept a quartet of games. Braylee Burke and MaKayla Lindley each scored 6 points to lead the middle-school girls past NA, 27-7, and Weston Jones scored 6 to lead the boys past the Eagles, 30-29.

Oconee Christian of Seneca visits Laurens Academy on Thursday.



Monte Dutton has been an award-winning journalist for four decades. As Publisher of DHK Sports LLC and its three websites, Monte is dedicated to restoring coverage of local sports as a means of filling a void left by the decline of other media sources.