AIKEN - Silver Bluff made sure the finals of the Twin States Invitational would not be an Aiken-Hephzibah affair.
The Bulldogs used a devastating 16-0 run at the beginning of the third quarter to whip Aiken 71-61 Friday night at Aiken High School.
Silver Bluff (5-1) will meet Hephzibah (2-9), a 53-46 winner over Lincoln County, for the boys title tonight at 8:30. Aiken (1-4) will meet Lincoln County (1-1) in the boys third-place game at 5:30 p.m.
The girls final at 7 p.m. will be a rematch between defending tournament champion Aiken (3-5) and Hephzibah (10-2). Aiken edged Hephzibah 36-33 in last season's finals.
Aiken defeated Richland Northeast, 48-43, while Hephzibah took care of Westside, 55-45.
Silver Bluff led by as many as 21, 47-26, in the boys game, thanks to the third-quarter run and led by as many as 20, 60-40, in the final period.
"With this young team that was one of the things we wanted to do - get to the championship game of this tournament," Silver Bluff coach Hoover Johnson said.
The Aiken girls raced to a 27-0 first quarter lead against Richland Northeast (4-5) and led 29-0 less than a minute into the second quarter.
Richland Northeast coach Phillip Chapman benched four of his starting five for missing practice on Thursday.
"If you miss practice before a game that's automatic," Chapman said. "It was a challenge for them (being behind 29-0) but they responded very well. They can learn that they can play hard from behind. It's a message to them. You have to be a team player - one for all, all for one."
The Cavaliers cut their deficit to five, 48-43, with 44.7 seconds remaining in the game and had a chance to get within two with 19.4 seconds remaining. A 3-pointer by guard Tresha Clark fell short.
Richland Northeast lost by more than 40 points to Orangeburg-Wilkinson this season and beat O-W in the teams' rematch. Orangeburg-Wilkinson is the favorite in Region 3-AAAA, while Aiken is the defending Region 3-AAAA champion.
Aiken coach Aubrey Pompey commended Chapman for sticking by his principles.
"It tells me a lot about his integrity and the things he's trying to teach them," said Pompey of Chapman. "We've done this before (holding a team scoreless for a period) but not this caliber."
Richland Northeast will meet Westside in the girls third-place contest today at 4 p.m.
Aiken guard Nikki Moss said she was glad the Hornets held on and is looking forward to the matchup with Hephzibah.
"It's going to be a good game," Moss said. "Last year's game was tight."
SILVER BLUFF (71)- Danny Green 13, Gerard Stallings 11, Atuanya Heyward 6, Patrick Moody 6, Lamass Barefield 13, Rolando Williams 18, Major Ryans 4. Totals 26 17-29 71.
AIKEN (61)- Vic Fuewell 10, Ronald Corley 7, Steven Holmes 10, Brandon Dean 7, Raymond Oakman 2, Wendell Blocker 13, Myron Talbert 12. Totals 23 12-22 61.
Silver Bluff 18 13 22 18 - 71
Aiken 12 14 10 25 - 61
3-point goals: Corley, Fuewell. Records: Silver Bluff 5-1, Aiken 1-4. Next: Silver Bluff vs. Hephzibah, boys championship, Twin States championship, today, 8:30 p.m., Aiken High School. Aiken vs. Lincoln County, third place game, today, 5:30 p.m.
RICHLAND NORTHEAST (43)- Tresha Clark 11, Vanessa Davis 1, Lena McCloud 2, April Thames 18, Latoya Thomas 11. Totals 17 5-15 43.
AIKEN (48)- Shonta Jenkins 4, Regina Dennis 1, Jennifer Justice 6, Amy Cue 6, Nikki Moss 6, Nicole Miles 10, Taiwanna Williams 4, Latavia Perry 2, Tameisha Perry 9. Totals 18 12-24 48.
Richland Northeast0 19 12 12- 43
Aiken27 11 6 4- 48
3-point goals: Clark, Thames 3. Records: Richland Northeast 4-5, Aiken 3-5. Next: Richland Northeast vs. Westside, today, 4 p.m., third place game, Twin States Holiday Invitational, Aiken High School. Aiken vs. Hephzibah, girls championship, today, 7 p.m.
Sixteen teams - eight boys, eight girls - are competing in the event.
The Evans boys will play Druid Hills today at 10:35 a.m., while the Evans girls meet Atlanta Lakeside at 12:10 p.m.
Sweet 16 Tournament in St. Matthews, S.C.
ALLENDALE-FAIRFAX (56)- Reginald Bradley 15, Cleveland Ritter 11, Travis Priester 11, Eddie Isham 9, Thomas Cohen 5, Reggie Miller 4, Terrence Green 1. Totals 21 14-26 56.
MANNING (55)- Willie Davis 13, Damon Wilds 10, John Fulton 9, Lewis Moses 8, Rafael Gaymon 6, O.J. Gibson 5, Eric Baxter 2, Trey King 2. Totals 23 5-10 55.
Allendale 10 14 15 17- 56
Manning 10 15 6 24- 55
3-point goals: Manning 4 (Wilds 2, Fulton 1, Davis 1). Records: Allendale-Fairfax 4-3, Manning 4-6. Next: Allendale-Fairfax at Calhoun County, Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m.