NORTH AUGUSTA --- The North Augusta Yellow Jackets showed their speed and smarts Wednesday night, routing T.L. Hanna 68-45 in the opening round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
North Augusta was too quick and strong underneath the boards and never allowed the visiting Yellow Jackets, of Anderson, S.C., to get comfortable in the paint.
North Augusta head coach Al Young said the team stressed taking away T.L. Hanna's low post game and forcing the visitors to shoot from the perimeter.
"We felt like (inside shooting) was their strength, along with rebounding and putting the ball back," Young said. "And I felt those are the things we really had to work to take away."
Senior Quinton Harmon, who led the Jackets with 14 points, dominated the paint all night.
"Quinton goes unnoticed," Young said. "If you went back and talked to the people we played, Quinton Harmon's name probably wouldn't come up a lot, but I'm telling you night after night, Quinton is always there."
The hometown Jackets went on a 14-1 run over the final three minutes of the first quarter, capped off by a Brett Johnson 3-pointer from the wing, to take a 20-7 lead.
Johnson, who had 13 points, came up big again late in the second quarter, with steals on consecutive T.L. Hanna possessions.
The play of the night opened the second half, with North Augusta holding a 38-23 lead.
On the inbounds play, North Augusta lined three offensive players on its defensive half court and the entire T.L Hanna defense followed. Johnson tossed the ball into an unguarded Darell Curry for the easy layup.
"We try that a lot but everybody don't bite on that," Young said.
The play left T.L. Hanna noticeably confused and disheartened. The team looked tired and steals by North Augusta on the visitor's next two possessions led to dunks by Bryan Narcisse and Ronald Sims.
North Augusta (20-4) will play Saturday at home against Northwestern, a 60-57 winner over Byrnes on Wednesday, at a time to be determined.
Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or email@example.com.