Wave get three key region wins

EASLEY — The Easley Green Wave varsity boys’ hoops squad picked up three key region victories last week, pushing their record to 14-5 overall and 6-2 in region play.
The week began on Tuesday with a game at Greenwood. The host Eagles had played the Green Wave tough in their visit to Easley, with the Green pulling out an 80-69 win. This time around, the Wave were clicking on all cylinders and played an excellent team game. The final score of 68-47 was the result of the entire squad contributing to the game both defensively and offensively.
Easley was led in scoring by Spencer Collins with 20 points, followed by McKenzie Blandin with 10, Tim Pickel with nine, Shakyil Chandler with seven, and Troy McGowens and Alex Preston, who both had six.
Trevin Franklin and Jake Foster had excellent games rebounding and defending the post.
In a make-up game on Thursday, the Green Wave could not shake a pesky Woodmont Wildcat team, but managed to pull out a close 62-50 victory with free throws down the stretch. Easley has averaged 73 percent from the line this season.
Once again the Wave’s leading scorer Collins paved the way with 28 points followed closely by point guard McGowens with 20. Pickel contributed 10 points, while Blandin had six and Chandler scored five.
Easley pulled out to a 33- 27 halftime lead and stretched it to 42-27 before the Cats began their comeback. Woodmont tied the game at 54-54 with 6:26 to play. Both teams fought hard for the win, but once again the Wave prevailed at the line in the last two minutes. Collins was 8-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter.
In a battle for second place in Region I-AAAA, the rival Wren Hurricanes visited McKelvey gym on Friday night.
The game was close throughout and bitterly fought. Each player on both teams gave his all to try to gain an advantage for his team.
Easley co-captain Pickel proved to be the spark for the Green Wave, leading all scorers with 28 points. Wren’s leading scorer, Austin Anderson, was held to two points in the first half but came back strong in the second half to finish with 16 points. Anderson hit an NBA range three-point shot to cut the margin to two points in the third quarter, but Pickel came back with a three of his own and a two-point drive to the basket to push the lead back to seven.
Tension was high in the gymnasium, and there were many emotion swings for both teams. The critical time during the game was a 10-0 Green Wave run to close the first half. The run was sparked by Jake Foster’s five points, Matt Preston’s three-pointer and a Pickel two-pointer.
Both post men fought hard for points and rebounds. Easley’s Franklin had his best scoring night with 10 and Brad Gunter chipped in 14 points for the Canes.
The Canes defense held Collins in check, as he had his lowest total for the year with eight points, well below his 22-point average.