The whole story was quite a bit more complicated. For instance, Hurley only scored three points all night.
Clinton (8-4, 1-0) dominated the boards, outrebounding Chapman (13-4, 0-1), 49-31. The game had plenty of rebounds to be had. The Red Devils connected on 32 of 67 shots (.476); the Panthers hit 29 of 72 (.402). Three more of Chapman’s field goals (8-5) were from three-point range. Clinton squandered a 10-point third-quarter edge and trailed by three (59-56) after three quarters.
Early in the fourth quarter, J.D. Payne, who scored 22 points, hit three shots in four trips down the court. Ty Priestley, who added 20, took the reins down the stretch. Chapman lived by the three-pointer, and mostly died by it in the fourth quarter.
Shandre Miller led the Panthers with 13.
The post-game locker room scene was festive as a member of the Laurens County Sports Hall of Fame, ex-South Carolina football great J.D. Fuller, gave the Red Devils a pep talk.
“I knew Chapman would bomb from the outside,” Red Devil head coach Eddie Romines said. “That’s Coach (Greg) Wilson’s strategy. They either shoot layups or threes. He told me he tried to shoot 40 threes a game. You know the old saying: you live by the three; you die by the three. I told the guys ‘they’re going to hit some threes, and we’ve got to weather the storm. I’m no prophet, but that’s just the way it was going to be.
“When they built that 10-point lead, the thing I was proud of is we didn’t fall apart. We kept our composure. Not only were they hitting threes in the third, but they were pressing us, either that or applying a half-court trap, but, if we run our trap offense effectively, we’re going to get some easy shots.”
CHAPMAN (75): Atkins 4, Fortenberg-Smith 11, Rollins 3, Mitchell 8, Owens 10, Miller 13, Colasundo 9, Pearson 2, Petty-Hartsfield 15. Field goals: 29-72. Rebounds: 31. Turnovers: 18.
CLINTON (76): Payne 22, Boyd 5, Cook 10, Priestley 20, Bennett 6, James 8, Hurley 3, Richardson 2. Field goals: 32-67. Rebounds: 49. Turnovers: 22.
Halftime: Clinton 36, Chapman 31.
Cold shooting plagued the Lady Red Devils, who fell to Chapman, 38-30, in the opening game at the Clinton gymnasium.
Only De’Shanti Watts scored in double figures, hitting 13 points as Clinton (6-10, 0-1) hit only 26.7 percent of its field goal attempts while being outrebounded by Chapman (3-11, 1-0), 38-30. Ke’Asia Anderson led the Lady Panthers with 16 points, and Bre Mabry added 10.
“We were close in the fourth quarter and had a shot,” head coach John Gardner said. “We fought back and got the lead down to four.”
Clinton, in fact, had three consecutive chances to cut Chapman’s lead to two in the final two minutes, missing short field-goal attempts each time.
“When you get back in a game like this, it takes so much energy,” Gardner added. “Often times, that comeback falls short. We kinds of sleep-walked through the first half. Any time you hold a team to under 40 points, you expect to win. You’ve got to make the easy shots. Late in the first half, we missed four layups in a row, and it happened again in the second half.”
CHAPMAN (38): Bacote 5, Moore 3, Aho 4, Anderson 16, Mabry 10. Field goals: 19-44. Rebounds: 38. Turnovers: 32.
CLINTON (30): Campbell 5, Abercrombie 3, Watts 13, Bennett 9. Field goals: 12-45. Rebounds: 30. Turnovers: 31.
Halftime: Chapman 19, Clinton 15.