Batesburg-Leesville girls basketball coach Eddie Hopper fully understands what it means to win games at the free-throw line.
The Lady Panthers (16-9) met Jasper County in last year's opening round of the South Carolina Class AA tournament. Batesburg-Leesville won the game 74-65 and attempted 52 free throws as Jasper County committed a majority of its fouls while in its pressing defense. The Lady Panthers face the run-andgun style of Jasper County tonight at 7 p.m. at home in the second round of the state playoffs.
In last year's meeting, Sharon Baston scored 48 points and hit 24 of 34 free-throw attempts. The junior is averaging 20 points, 4 1/2 steals and 2 1/2 assists per game this season. After defeating Barnwell 43-30 in last Thursday's opening round, Hopper hopes his team can slow down Jasper County.
"They're an up-tempo team," Hopper said. "We have to try to control the tempo. We're better in a half-court game. They run a full-court press. We had a lot of turnovers last year. If we can cut down our turnovers and hit our free throws we'll be all right."
In other local girls hoops, North Augusta plays host to Greenwood in the opening round of the Class AAAA tournament tonight. Denmark-Olar and Wagener-Salley square off in the marquee Class A area secondround matchup. McCormick will be at Christ Church while Brookville-Hilda travels to Estill in other Class A second-round action. All games have 7 p.m. tipoffs.
In boys action, second-round play begins Tuesday night at 7 p.m. for Classes A, AA, and AAA. McCormick plays host to Landrum while Denmark-Olar hits the road to Charleston for a contest against St. John's in Class A.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt will play at Calhoun County in AA while Strom Thurmond visits Newberry in AAA. Two Class AAAA boys teams received first-round byes. South Aiken will meet the winner of Tuesday's Estill/Gaffney game while topseeded North Augusta will play the Easley/Gaffney winner. Both games are set for Thursday at 7 p.m.