At one point, the Loris Lions weren’t sure they would even have a basketball season.
Now they are moving on to the next round of the 3A playoffs.
Loris outlasted a stubborn Oceanside Collegiate Academy team Monday night to come away with a 42-32 win.
The Lions came into Monday night’s battle as the Region VII-3A champs. They have a No. 1 seed. The Landsharks were seeded No. 2.
Both teams stayed even throughout the first quarter. Loris had a tough time under the basket and they got into early foul trouble.
Loris stretched a narrow 10-7 first quarter lead to a 22-14 halftime advantage. Early in the third quarter, the Lions jumped out to a double-digit lead before Oceanside went on a 9-0 run late in the quarter, drawing within seven and trailing Loris 30-23 going into the final quarter.
In the fourth, Loris turned up the defensive heat and the Landsharks found the going rough trying to handle the Lions' press. Creating timely turnovers and hitting some key free throws, the Lions held on for the 42-32 victory.
JaLynn Johnson led the Lions with 15 points.
Loris head coach Doug Gause acknowledged his team faced a difficult foe in Oceanside.
“We had a tough time with their center and we got into foul trouble early,” Gause said. “We had to go smaller most of the first half, but we played a much better second half.”
Noting the Landsharks’ trouble getting into a good rhythm during the second half, Gause said he was proud of his team’s defensive effort.
“Our press kept us in the game,” he said. “We were able to convert turnovers into points.”
Loris will travel to Orangeburg Thursday night to take on Orangeburg-Wilkinson, which knocked off Manning Monday night.
Other Monday scores
Wando 44 St. James 33 (5A)
Myrtle Beach 62 South Aiken 59 (4A)
Hilton Head 37 North Myrtle Beach 36 (4A)