NORTH AUGUSTA — Al Young didn’t break a sweat this time.
After needing a furious comeback to avoid an opening upset in postseason play, North Augusta avoided the dramatics Saturday night.
The Yellow Jackets scored the game’s first nine points and rolled to a 55-38 win over West Ashley in the second round of the South Carolina Class AAAA state playoffs.
“We did some things early that were successful,” Young said. “It relaxed me. I’m sure the kids were glad about that.”
North Augusta (19-6), which extended its winning streak to eight games, will advance to play Tuesday at Sumter. The Yellow Jackets, who didn’t make postseason play last season, are one win away from making the deepest run of any of Young’s teams in nine seasons at North Augusta.
T.J. Sheppard drained two 3-pointers en route to a team-high 11 points, Tavarez Hall added 10 points for the Yellow Jackets. Christian Davis, who recorded two steals the first two minutes of the game, chipped in with eight points.
Coming off a stirring 67-65 comeback win Wednesday over Richland Northeast, in which North Augusta trailed by 19 in the second half, the Yellow Jackets didn’t want to get in that situation again.
North Augusta scored four seconds in when Davis banked in a layup just after the tip. Thirty seconds later, Hall followed with two free throws. Later, Malik Dunbar dunked home an inbounds pass from Davis. Then, Sheppard swished a 3-pointer. With 4:40 left in the first, North Augusta led 9-0.
“We didn’t want to fall behind,” Young said. “We feel like God blessed us when we did. We just didn’t want to put ourselves in that situation again.”
The Wildcats (20-6) had no answer, pulling within six but no closer in the second quarter. The Charleston, S.C., school posted more turnovers (seven) than field goals (six) in the first half and trailed by 15 at intermission.