Wave secure region crown

EASLEY — The Easley Green Wave basketball squad stretched its winning streak to 10 games last week, wrapping up a Region I-AAAA boys’ basketball title along the way.
On Tuesday night, the Wave secured the region crown with a 63-61 win at Hanna. Friday night, Easley used a dominant non-conference road win over Byrnes to springboard into Wednesday’s AAAA playoff opener.
The Green Wave, who finished as Upperstate runners-up last season, will host Mauldin at McKelvey Gymnasium tonight at 7 p.m. to open postseason play.
On senior night at T.L. Hanna last Tuesday, the Jackets did not go down without a fight.
The Green Wave led 16-14 at the end of the first quarter and continued to build the lead as sophomore Matt Preston hit three three-pointers to push the Wave to a 37-29 half-time advantage.
The game looked manageable, but the team from Anderson had other things in mind. Hanna’s Ronell Crockett and Quin Jones bombed away from the three-point line as the Jackets stormed back to take a third quarter lead at 51-47.
The game remained tight, with Easley’s Spencer Collins and Tim Pickel carrying the scoring load in the fourth quarter to gain the victory. The deciding basket came with 17 seconds on the clock when Collins found Pickel streaking to the basket and threaded the needle on a long court pass to put the Wave on top for the final margin. The game ended when Collins managed to steal the ball before Hanna could get in position for a game winner. Collins paced Easley with 18 points, while Pickel had 12 and Troy McGowens had 11. Trevin Franklin and McKenzie Blandin played big in the post with five rebounds apiece.
In Friday night’s trip to Duncan to take on Byrnes, the Green Wave played to a 35-28 half-time lead before pulling away in the third quarter.
With a 67-40 final score, Easley coach Grant Stallard gave every player court time in the fourth quarter. While Collins (21) and Pickel (13) continued their scoring ways and led the team, the star for the night was Blandin, a senior in his final regular-season game.
Blandin pulled down 14 rebounds while giving away several inches to the Rebels’ bigger post players.
McGowens chipped in nine points, while Shykil Chandler added seven for the Wave.
Easley finished the regular season with a 19-5 record, including a 10-2 mark in region play.