Tonka has another big game

Conway's Tonka Hemingway put up 27 points Saturday night in the Tigers' 57-45 win over River Bluff.

With a little under three minutes to play Saturday night, Tonka Hemingway was starting to get a bit more demonstrative with the officials.

The Conway forward was drawing a ton of contact without the same type of relief he was getting earlier when he had already gone to the line 12 times. Big game or not, his coach enacted the spoken contract he has with his star.

Hemingway got a few moments on the bench to cool his head.

“He had to get me to calm down so I didn’t put the team in jeopardy,” the Region VI-5A player of the year said.

For the rest of the game, Hemingway had done anything but.

The senior put together a 27-point, 20-rebound performance against River Bluff, leading Conway to a 57-45 win in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs. The Tigers will play at home on Tuesday against Goose Creek in the third round with a trip at the lower state championship on the line.

And, once again, Conway will be relying on the player who has driven this team to the third round for the third consecutive year.

“I told him before the game, ‘Look man, you are who you are. You’ve got to let everyone know that,’” Hopkins said. “That guy shoots about 70 percent. So if I give him 10 shots, he’s going to make about seven of those. ‘Don’t worry about being selfish. If you get around the basket, you’ve got to do your thing.’”

Hemingway doing his thing in the playoffs has been a staple. He had a double-double against Stratford in the opening round on Wednesday. And last year, he scored the game-winning basket in the first round before putting together a nine-point, 15-rebound showing in the second.

Against River Bluff, there was no doubting that he was here to give his teammates another chance at a home game. He had 18 points by halftime and spurred a one-time 17-0 Conway run that allowed the Tigers to overcome an early deficit.

Carlton Terry had 11, and Tim Steele, who took over the game for a two-minute stretch while Hemingway sat late, had 10 points. 

Grayson Renner led the Gators with 15 points — all on 3-pointers — and Josh Cranshaw had 10.

Protecting home court means Conway will be right back there next week.

“We want redemption,” Hemingway said. “Last time, we lost a heartbreaker on the road. This time, we might have a chance since it’s a home game. It feels real good to be able to go out in front of my family.”

Other local prep scores

5A (boys)

Fort Dorchester 55  Carolina Forest 53

4A (boys)

North Myrtle Beach 60  North Augusta 55 

Myrtle Beach 73  Colleton County 60

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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