Green Wave drop close game to Wildcats

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Battling back from an eight-point deficit, the Easley Green Wave entered the fourth quarter with all the momentum on their side tied at 49-49 against the Woodmont Wildcats last Tuesday before letting the lead slip back to eight with less than two minutes to go.

Having done it once before, Easley went to work on the comeback, getting two baskets from senior forward Jayvion Leavell, including a huge putback with 17 seconds left to keep the Green Wave alive.  Easley quickly fouled Woodmont’s Dre Huff, and despite making almost every basket to that point in a 30-point effort, Huff missed the front end of the one-and-one to give Easley a chance, but a crucial Leavell turnover on the ensuing possession ended Easley’s chances in a 62-58 loss.

“I told the guys we’re not good enough to overcome a lot of errors,” Easley coach Michael Jones said. “We did some things that obviously hurt ourselves. We had a stretch where we had four straight pretty bad turnovers in the first half, and we gave up too many offensive rebounds.”

After an opening basket from Carson Freeze, the Green Wave quickly fell behind as they struggled to contain Huff. Huff scored 10 points in the opening quarter to start his electric night, but Easley kept things close enough behind baskets from Leavell and senior guard Todd Williams.

Trailing 16-10, Easley used the sharpshooting skills of Ethan Crews and Kaleb Owens to tie the game at 18-18. A technical foul on leading scorer Kristian Chapman threatened Easley’s momentum, but Williams hit an and-one layup on the ensuing possession to give Easley its first lead of the night, 21-19. The Green Wave were unable to lead for long, though, with Huff scoring seven more points down the stretch in the quarter as Easley struggled with possession and rebounding, allowing the Wildcats to retake control with a 37-31 lead at the half.

Coming out of the break, the Green Wave cut into the deficit with ease as an 8-0 run bolstered by three-pointers from Owens and Chapman tied the game before Huff went on another scoring tear. This time, though, the Green Wave matched him, with Chapman hitting two huge shots and Crews nailing a couple of free throws to tie things at 49-49 heading to
the fourth.

Woodmont refused to go down easy as they opened the fourth on a 10-3 run, but Easley was as resilient as ever. Leavell carried the Easley offense down the stretch scoring seven of his team-high 17 points in the final quarter cutting the lead to four, but five missed free throws and the final, crucial turnover clouded his impact on the game as Easley fell 62-58.

“He’ll be fine,” Jones said of Leavell. “He is a competitor and he really wants to win. I know he is frustrated right now, but he is going to come back to work tomorrow.”

Despite the loss and disappointing start to the season, Jones was happy with the effort for his team in the loss especially after their prior play against the Wildcats and he feels good about his team as they head into region play.

“I’m really very proud of the guys,” Jones said. “We’re talking going to the wire with a team that beat us in the J.L. Mann Christmas tournament by 30. It’d be nice to have some of the games we lost this year back, but we our main focus is region play and we think we can be competitive.”




Woodmont 62, Easley 58

WHS 16 21 12 13 — 62

EHS 10 21 18 9  — 58


Easley (58) — Leavell 17, Owens 11, Williams 10, Chapman 8, Crews 8, Freeze 3.

Woodmont (62) — Huff 30, Kellett 9, Stewart 9, Ainslie 4, Bentley 4,  Parry 4, Streetman 2.