Originally created 02/26/03

Blackville-Hilda advances



BLACKVILLE, S.C. - Everybody always talks about Brandon Isaac. At least that's the opinion of Blackville-Hilda boys basketball coach Mike Beasley.

And why not? After all, the senior guard is the team's top scorer, a member of South Carolina's All-State team, and will play in March's North-South All-Star contest.

So, everybody discusses the best way to stop Isaac from scoring, Beasley says. Everybody wants to key in on him.

Against fourth-seeded Johnsonville in the second round of the Class A playoffs Tuesday, though, senior guard Elliot Williams proved his offense can be just as potent.

As Isaac suffered through a rough shooting night, Williams poured in six 3-pointers, scoring a game-high 26 points to lead the second-seeded Fighting Hawks to a 62-55 win against the visiting Flashes.

Williams' production is exactly what Blackville-Hilda (14-8) needed.

"I felt I needed to step up, because they were keying on (Isaac)," said Williams, whose squad will face Hemingway at a neutral site Friday. Hemingway defeated Estill 94-81 on Tuesday.

"I pretty much knew it was going in whenever the ball left my hand."

The rest of the Fighting Hawks must have felt the same way. They hit 10 3-pointers - including two by Isaac, who scored eight points. Blackville-Hilda also shot 52 percent (14 of 27) from the field in the first half.

But Johnsonville (7-15) was nearly as good.

Led by James Shefton's 22-point, 10-rebound performance and getting 15 points from Jonathan McRea, the Flashes, who outrebounded the Fighting Hawks 42-35, exchanged the lead with them 17 times in the game.

Although Johnsonville took a 53-52 lead with 3:32 to play, the Fighting Hawks got a huge 3-pointer from Williams more than a minute later and ended the contest on a 10-2 run.

"They came in with a good game-plan," said Beasley, whose squad had to adjust to an ever-changing Johnsonville defense.

"They made us go down to the wire. You have to give them credit. But in the same sentence, you have to give our team credit too. These guys made the right decisions down the stretch."

Plus, Blackville-Hilda hit its free throws, converting 8 of 13 - a big improvement over its season average when the Fighting Hawks typically connected on between 40 and 50 percent of their attempts.

"It's like I told them during a timeout (as the game wound down)," Beasley said. "I said it was their game to win. These guys had to make their free throws and the easy layups. And these guys stepped up and made them."

Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or josh.katzowitz@augustachronicle.com.