Laurens varsity basketball teams weren’t exactly “rough and ready” when Greenwood came to town for opening Region 2-4A games on Tuesday night. They were ready to be rough because that’s what both games were.

The Raiders won a pair of nail-biters as the girls won 54-51 and the boys 51-50.

Officials whistled 61 fouls and a technical for each team in the boys game. Quite a few weren’t called. Both games featured spills, chills and bodies flying.


In the opener, Raniya Jackson led Laurens (4-7, 1-0 region) with 19 points, but Zoe Young scored 10 of her 13 in the 4th quarter, when the Raiders outscored the Eagles 20-17. At the end of each of the 1st three quarters, the score was tied: 11-11, 21-21 and 34-34.

Of Young, head coach Aianna Kelley said, “She’s tall. We can get the ball to her, and she knows the game of basketball. We tell our team that we need a post presence. Sometimes she’s silent in the 1st quarter, but in the 4th quarter, she’s in her groove.”


Qua Fortson, who scored 10, was instrumental in running the offense and forcing turnovers. Both teams had too many: 17 for the Raiders, 16 for the Eagles.

Three Laurens players – Amillion Evans, Angel Johnson and MyAngel Walker – each scored 4, and Wymaya Givens had 2.

Erianna Wardlaw pumped in 22 points for the Eagles – 5 for 2 points and 4 for 3, but 0-5 at the free-throw line – and Claire Lewis popped 18 – 3 for 2 and 4 for 3, no trips to the charity stripe – thus combining for 40 of Greenwood’s 50 points. The Eagles hit only 2-9 free throws as a team while converting 20-37 (.541) from the field.

Laurens only hit 19-55 (.345) from the floor, but won mainly as a result of a 40-29 rebounding edge. The Raiders hit only 11-27 (.407) free throws.


Isaiah Burnside, the boys’ imposing post presence, scored 19 points – 9 in the 4th quarter – to lead an otherwise balanced attack.

“We knew the game was going to be physical,” head coach Tommy Spires said, “and we knew we were going to have to match their intensity. Against their press, once you got past their front line, you were going to have some easy opportunities to score.

“I was proud of how we were able to hang in there with our toughness. We’re 1-0 in the region and looking forward to playing at Greenville (currently ranked 9th in the state) on Friday night.”


Van Butler, Preston Mahon and Blake Nelson provided 6 points apiece to the Raider effort, with Ty Johnson adding 5 and Josh Cureton and Pe’rel Shands 4 each. Hampton Schock led the Eagles with 18 points and Donovan Boyles added 18. Greenwood hit 17-42 (.405) field-goal attempts, while Laurens (8-9, 1-0 region) connected on 23-39 (.590).

The Raiders committed 21 turnovers – 11 in the 4th quarter – to 10 for the Eagles, but Laurens won the rebounding battle by a similarly wide margin, 37-20. The game was close from start to finish. Laurens led 15-10 after a quarter, 22-21 at half and 37-31 after three.