One was the loneliest number for Shannon Forest Academy on Monday night, at least in girls’ basketball.
The Crusaders of Greenville – as opposed to the Crusaders of Laurens Academy, whom they were playing – scored one more point than in the former game between the two crusading schools. LA scored 31 in both games. Laurens Academy won, 31-30, in the latter, and 31-29, in the former.
In "21," an ace is worth either 10 or 1. Shannon Forest had the latter.
Diamonte Grant kept the LA boys within range for most of three quarters, but Shannon Forest raced away to a 49-30 victory.
The Laurens Academy girls led most of the way, seldom by many, and the game was tied (22-22) after three quarters.
The scoring was balanced – Olivia Huck 9, S.C. Natiello 8, Payton Breen 8 – but it was Rylee Ballard’s free throw with 9.1 seconds left that made the difference. Ballard finished with 5, and Emily Suttles had 1.
Laurens Academy (3-3) clobbered Shannon Forest (0-4) on the boards, 41-27, and it was a particularly important factor since the, uh, Foresters committed 10 fewer turnovers than LA’s 19. Shannon Forest went through the second and third quarters without a single one.
Anna Kathryn Belew was the game’s only double-figures scorer, scoring 12 for Shannon Forest.
“There were two teams trying to learn how to play,” LA head coach Jason Marlett said. “Trying to learn how to turn the ball over a little less. We struggled with that, and we struggled with free throws (6-15).
“We have a young team. We have a lot of work to do on fundamentals, which is what we’re working on in practice. Hopefully, as we get going, we’ll get a little bit better offensively, but I was pretty proud of our defense. In the halfcourt, we played pretty well.”
Grant scored Laurens’ first basket, a 3-pointer, that gave the LA boys their only lead, 3-2, and another from beyond the stripe brought the slightly more southern Crusaders within three points, 27-24, late in the third quarter. Laurens Academy (2-4) had trailed by five points after a quarter and seven at the half.
Shannon Forest (3-1) outscored LA 22-6 the rest of the way in spite of Grant scoring 19 points.
Andrew Codington and Thomas Lowry each scored 4 and Colton McGee chipped in 3.
Laurens Academy’s leading scorer in 2019-20, Caio Rita, suffered a knee injury during football season that will cost him his senior season.