Originally created 12/21/96

Baston is brightest star in Thoroughbred Classic



AIKEN - With Tony Kitchings and his South Aiken teammates taking the night off, the best player in the opening round of the Thoroughbred Classic was Sharon Baston.

The sophomore sensation scored 27 points as Batesburg-Leesville defeated Midland Valley 46-35 at South Aiken High School on Friday night.

In the nightcap, Midland Valley's Limuer Myers drilled two free throws with 13.2 seconds remaining as the Mustangs picked up their initial win of the year with a 45-41 victory over Batesburg-Leesville.

Earlier in the day, Saluda swept a pair of games from Gilbert. The Saluda girls won 44-24 behind 17 points apiece from Moneka Watson and Rikeia Henley.

Travis Callahan scored 14 points to lead the Saluda boys to a 51-32 win.

Baston scored a career-high 40 points in Batesburg-Leesville's season-opening win over Ridge Spring-Monetta, 66-39. The 5-foot-8 point guard is averaging 31 points per game in her third year on the varsity.

She averaged 16 points and was an All-Region performer as a freshman and scored 10 points a contest as an eighth grader.

"I need to score more and take it to the basket this year," Baston said.

Panther coach Eddie Hopper says she's the best scorer he's ever had.

"We lost two seniors who combined averaged 40 points and 25 rebounds per game," Hopper said. "I told her I needed her to step up and share the scoring load."

Batesburg-Leesville (2-1) will meet South Aiken in a girls semifinal contest today at 6 p.m. and Saluda and Strom Thurmond will meet in the other semifinal at 3 p.m. South Aiken and Strom Thurmond received byes.

The boys semifinals will pit Saluda (4-1) against Strom Thurmond at 4:30 p.m. and Midland Valley (1-3) against defending Classic champion South Aiken (4-0) at 7:30 p.m. Strom Thurmond and South Aiken received first round byes.

Saluda edged Strom Thurmond, 53-52, in an earlier meeting in Johnston.

"They've got some good inside players and some nice guards, too," Saluda coach Dave Corder said of the Rebels.

For the Thoroughbreds, the Classic is a warmup to next week's Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach.

"I'm ready to go now," said Kitchings of the national event. "I've already packed."

Thoroughbred guard Eric Toole is the reigning MVP of the tourney and trying not to look ahead to next week.

"We've got to defend it (Thoroughbred title)," Toole said. "We've got to take it one game at a time."

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE (41)- Pat Burgess 17, Darris Morris 10, Terrance Cook 14, Sherman Scott 0, Trey Anthony 0. Totals 18 4-6 41.

MIDLAND VALLEY (45)- Mikal Jones 2, Bernard Stephens 4, Zay Brown 3, Limuer Myers 13, Andre Thomas 10, Dwayne Johnson 13. Totals 15 11-15 45.

Batesburg-Leesville10 5 11 15- 41

Midland Valley6 9 16 14- 45

3-point goals: Cook, Thomas 2, Johnson 2. Records: Batesburg-Leesville 0-3, Midland Valley 1-3. Next: Midland Valley vs. South Aiken, today,7:30 p.m., semifinals, Thoroughbred Classic. Batesburg-Leesville vs. Gilbert, today, loser's bracket, 1:30 p.m.

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE (46)- Sharon Baston 27, Gwen Shealy 1, Angela Barr 4, Patrice Burgess 8, Mieorka Lites 2, Kisherri Williams 4. Totals 17 12-23 46.

MIDLAND VALLEY (35)- Tiffany Simpkins 12, Crystal Moore 4, Laura Pullen 6, Erica Drayton 8, Natasha Lowe 5. Totals 13 9-23 35.

Batesburg-Leesville13 11 13 9- 46

Midland Valley9 6 7 13- 35

Records: Batesburg-Leesville 2-1, Midland Valley 0-4. Next: Batesburg-Leesville vs. Saluda, semifinals, Thoroughbred Classic, today 6 p.m. Midland Valley vs. Gilbert, loser's bracket, today, noon.

SALUDA BOYS (51)- Johnny Bosket 5, O'Dell Bryant 4, Montavious Butler 4, Travis Callahan 14, Cedric Springs 7, Kelcey Stevens 1, William Wideman 16. Totals 21 9-12 51.

GILBERT (32)- Tyrone Harris 2, Danny Ragsdale 1, Brad Teal 13, Joe Newhouse 6, Jason Smith 1, Steve Crossland 8. Totals 8 14-18 32.

Saluda12 15 12 12- 51

Gilbert8 9 10 7- 32

3-point goals: Teal. Records: Saluda 4-1. Next: Saluda vs. Strom Thurmond, today, 4:30 p.m. Gilbert vs. Midland Valley, today, 1:30 p.m.

SALUDA GIRLS (44)- Moneka Watson 17, Rikeia Henley 17, Chrissy McDonald 1, Kelly Minick 6, Carzanna Jones 2, Marolyn Brooks 1. Totals 20 3-9 44.

GILBERT (24)- Mandy Quarterman 16, C. McCartha 2, L. Quarterman 4, A. Frick 2, C. Teal 0. Totals 11 2-6 24.

Saluda girls 9 7 16 12- 44

Gilbert2 4 4 14- 24

3-point goals: Watson. Next: Saluda vs. Strom Thurmond, semifinals, Thoroughbred Classic today, 3 p.m., South Aiken High School. Gilbert vs. Midland Valley, loser's bracket, Thoroughbred Classic, today, noon.