INDIAN LAND — Sophomore point guard Darnell Rogers was one of the last to leave the locker room after a 96-65 win against region foes Cheraw (9-5, 3-2 in Region 4-2A) Friday night.
He wasn’t looking forward to leaving the hard court, but duty calls: he had to write “like, four reports” for his English class during the weekend.
Rogers would have preferred to play a few more quarters like he did last night, where he paced a surging Indian Land team (12-4, 5-0 in region) with 28 points, including four three-pointers. He and senior Lee McCall combined for more than half of the Warriors’ points total, which keeps the team’s undefeated region streak alive heading deep into conference play.
“It’s a great win, for sure,” said Warrior coach Nate Smith. “Lee’s a senior, he’s been our defensive player of the year so far and I looked at him and said, ‘This is your last game against Cheraw at home. You’ve been through this, so there’s nothing you can do but play your best.’”
McCall’s success in the paint helped stymie a Cheraw side that came out of the traps shooting hot. The Braves’ Zach Sellers (26 points, two rebounds) and Wayne Jones (eight points, four rebounds) dominated the boards early in the first quarter, which allowed the host few opportunities for long-range efforts.
Down 16-11 after the first quarter, Smith said he changed up his team’s defensive scheme from a zone cover to man-to-man.
“You look at (Sellers), he’s one of the best guards in the nation. He really put Cheraw on his shoulders and I went back to a man defense, I said, ‘We gotta stop him, man against man.’”
Smith’s plan worked.
The Warriors rolled on an eight-minute 22-9 run leading into halftime and continued to find pay dirt after the break. Sophomore center Quantra Taylor (8 points) collected several crucial rebounds, as Rogers got hot behind the three-point line, hitting two treys in a row between the third and fourth quarters, while finishing all 14 of his attempted free throws.
Rogers would sit out the majority of the last frame after getting into foul trouble, but Smith never needed him. Taylor’s dunk to extend the Warrior lead to 25 with four minutes left sent an already rowdy Indian Land student section into a frenzy.
“When you’re up by that much, there’s just no way you’re gonna come back from that,” Rogers said, with a grin.
Indian Land will play three tough contests in the coming week, including a trip to Chesterfield, sandwiched between home games against Central Pageland and Buford.
“I keep reminding them, where we want to go,” Smith said. “I’m not overlooking Buford or any of them. They’re all tough games.”
Indian Land 96, Cheraw, 65
Darnell Rogers: 28 points; Quantra Taylor: 8 points, 4 rebounds; Lee McCall: 24 points, 8 rebounds; Brandon Sellers: 4 points, 1 rebound; Mark Morton: 4 points; Brandon Barnes: 3 points; Damien Foreman: 15 points, 2 rebounds; Chuck Webb: 2 points; Darries Hampton: 6 points; Jake Dyer: 1 point
Dalvin Taylor: 11 points, Zach Sellers, 26 points, 2 rebounds, Lameer Jordan, 4 points, 1 rebound, Khalil Newton, 1 rebound, Wayne Jones, 8 points, 4 rebounds, David Brown, 4 points, 3 rebounds, Tre Dickey 7 points, 3 rebounds; Steven Douglas, 8 points