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Franklin Co. boys, girls advance in 3A

MEADVILLE — As leaders go, Deandrea Cameron knows only onespeed, and that’s hitting the jumper time after time. Tuesday nightin the first round of the Class 3A South State playoffs, Camerondid just that, hitting three treys to give the Franklin CountyBulldogs a dramatic 61-46 victory over Greene County. The winassured the Bulldogs would be the host team for Class 3A SouthState tournament, which begins Thursday.

“We hung in there,” said Franklin County general Chris Jordan.”After trailing early, we just stayed with the game plan of gettingit inside. Our guards stepped up.”

The Bulldogs (20-7) spotted the Wildcats (18-11) a 20-9 firstquarter lead, before Cameron and senior guards Jonathan Brooks andJasper O’Quinn caught fire. The Bulldogs three guard tandem scored15 of Franklin’s 17-second quarter points. Franklin led 26-25 atintermission.

“We had to step up,” said Cameron. “There guards were tough, andwe had to stop them in the third and fourth quarters.”

Greene County’s cat-quick combination of guards Johnny Lockhartand Mark Bivens torched the Bulldogs in the first half for 19points. In the second half, Cameron and company adjusted and heldthe duo to seven points. Franklin led 39-35 after three quarters ofplay.

“In the second half we got some inside baskets, and they missedsome,” added Jordan. “We got a little bit of luck then.”

Jordan’s Bulldogs got some crafty paint-work from their Towersof Power in the fourth period, from 6-4 swingmen Wesley Brown,Marcus Tillman, and DeAndre Davis. All three overwhelmed theWildcats with put-backs and rebounds to increase their lead to53-40 with 2:17 remaining.

Cameron and Brooks added the final touches for the Dawgs thewaste of the way, by hitting a trey each for the final margin ofvictory.

“It feels good to win and to host South State,” added Cameron.”I’ve been wanting this for three years, and I’m glad we’re finallyin it, and that its here.”

A three-year starter at point guard, Cameron finished with 15points, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals. He went3-for-4 from the three-point line. Brooks added a team-high 20points and three rebounds in the win.

For the Wildcats, Lockhart had a game-high 22 points and fiveassists. Bivens finished with eight points, two steals, and twoassists.

Coached by Bill Ricks, the Wildcats finished the year 18-11overall. They were seeded third out of Region 8-3A.

“We beat a good team,” continued Jordan. “They did a good job onboth sides of the ball.”

Franklin County will host Crystal Springs Thursday afternoonbeginning 4 p.m. in the second round of the Class 3A South StatePlayoffs. The Bulldogs last hosted the South State Tournament in1997.

Crystal Springs upended Newton County 68-58.

Lady Bulldogs Win

In Monday night’s contest between the Lady Bulldogs (23-6) andthe Columbia Lady Wildcats (16-13), Franklin County guard VictoriaHunt was money,

hitting a game high 28 points in her team’s 63-35 bashing of theLady Wildcats.

Coached by Charles Moore, the Lady Bulldogs led Columbia 33-18at the break. Franklin outscored the Lady Wildcats 16-2, for a49-20 command after three quarters of play.

Aiding in Franklin’s win was junior forward Shalenia Wilcherwith 13 points.

The Lady Bulldogs will play South State host Newton County(20-10) Thursday night at 7 in the second round of the Class 3Aplayoffs. Last year, Franklin was ousted by defending Class 3Achampion Choctaw Central in the second round of the playoffs.

Hazlehurst Girls Win

Coach Freda Craft’s Hazlehurst Lady Indians will join FranklinCounty in traveling to Newton County for the South Sate TournamentThursday. The Lady Indians disposed of Greene County 75-47 Mondaynight, behind Jalissa Sandifer’s game high 23 points.

Hazlehurst (19-14) will play Choctaw Central (32-1) in thesecond round of the playoffs, beginning at 4:00 in Newton.