PETTICOAT JUNCTION, S.C. - Brandon Bussey waited until the time was right for the first dunk of his career.
The 5-foot-8 senior scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the first half and gave Silver Bluff all the momentum it needed when he jammed in the shot on a breakaway, 10 seconds into the second half. The No. 4 Bulldogs (20-7) rode the burst of energy to a 68-38 drubbing of Waccamaw in the second round of the Class AA state playoffs Tuesday.
"I didn't know I was going to do it from the get-go," said Bussey of the dunk, which gave Silver Bluff a 35-18 lead. "It popped up in my head at the last minute."
The Bulldogs, who have won 16 of their past 17 games, will face the No. 7 Woodland-Mullins winner in the quarterfinals, at 7 p.m. on Friday.
"We had a really good practice (Monday), so I knew we'd play well tonight," said Bussey, who transferred from North Augusta in 2001. "I was wishing we still had a few more home games, but I'm looking forward to (the third round) now."
Early in the contest, Bussey picked up the slack for leading scorer Brandon Wallace, who converted just one free throw in the first half.
When Wallace struggles, role players such as Terrance Crawford, Antwon Boyd and Bobby Davis fill the void. Silver Bluff coach Sam Lilly figured it was Bussey's turn.
"I told Bussey tonight he'd have 20," Lilly said. "Every game, someone's always stepping up. What team can match up with all five of those guys?"
Silver Bluff stormed out to an 11-3 lead and held a 29-18 edge with just less than a minute to go before halftime. Then the Bulldogs blew it wide open, starting a 23-4 run which put them ahead 52-22 with 2:07 to go in the third quarter.
Wallace finally found his groove, scoring eight of his 18 points during the run.
"He's just about to peak at the right time," Lilly said of Wallace.
Lilly was pleased with the effort, but cautious about the remainder of the playoffs.
"I told them we needed to put that hammer down early," he said. "We need to enjoy it, because it's about to get a lot harder."
Brandon Drayton led Waccamaw (12-12) with 11 points, and Fredrick Rivens added 10.
Reach Lane Kramer at (803) 648-1395, Ext. 106.
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