Originally created 01/19/00

Aiken falls to Orangeburg in OT



AIKEN -- Orangeburg-Wilkinson fits every description of the fourth-ranked position it holds in South Carolina.

The Bruins are stingy, make crucial free throws, hit important shots and turn an opponent's mistake into a blessing. More importantly they improve to 13-0 on the season with a 3-0 mark in Region 3-AAAA.

The Bruins took all Aiken could give them Tuesday night, but remained unbeaten with a 68-63 overtime win over a fired-up Hornets team. Junior Lavar Wannamaker scored 20 points and Norbert Rivers followed with 16 as Orangeburg-Wilkinson again made a late rally pay off.

The Bruins have trailed late in all three Region 3-AAAA contests and have come back to claim three victories.

With Aiken leading 53-48, Wannamaker was fouled by Aaron Morgan on a three-point shot. He nailed all three before the Hornets went ahead 55-53 on a Brandon Moses putback.

With seven seconds remaining, Rivers took the inbounds pass and drove the length of the floor, pulling up to drain a 12-foot jumper, sending the game into overtime tied at 55.

"He's that type of player that thrives for the big play," said O-W coach Alex Barron said of Rivers. "Lavar is the same type of player. I'm happy with the win, but this game should've never went into overtime. We're not playing like we were earlier this year. We're struggling to beat people. These guys are not used to this type of success."

Moses wouldn't allow Orangeburg-Wilkinson to distance itself too much as he poured in a game-high 28 points, sparking a 13-2 Hornets run late in the fourth quarter to put Aiken up after a lackluster third quarter. The Bruins trailed 37-31, but fueled a 15-2 run that was capped by a Rivers trey that gave them a 46-39 margin.

That's when Moses placed the Hornets on his shoulders and lifted Aiken to a 48-all tie on a free throw. Aiken seemingly had the victory sealed when the senior stole an inbounds pass and finished with a leaning two-handed slam that put the Hornets ahead 53-48.

But four missed free throws by the Hornets set up Wannamaker's three clutch free throws to close the gap to two. Wannamaker was still fresh off his buzzer- beating jumper that gave Orangeburg a 39-38 win over Lexington on Friday.

"We never gave up and that's a good sign of a good team," Barron added. "Aiken is one of the better teams in the region and it's tough going on the road trying to get a win. No win is an easy one in this region."

In the girls matchup, Orangeburg-Wilkinson used a 9-2 run to end the first half and a third quarter where it outscored the Lady Hornets 11-4 to take a 51-29 win.

Top-rated point guard Tasha Cook scored all 14 of her points in the first half before going down with an ankle injury midway the third quarter. The Lady Hornets couldn't capitalize on the absence of Cook as they didn't score a basket in the second half until midway through the quarter.

Reach Patrick Green at (803) 648-1395