Pair of Lexington County basketball teams advance to state championship games

Posted 2/26/24

Three teams played in last week’s upper and lower state championships in Florence, with the Lexington and Gray Collegiate boys advancing to the state finals.

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Pair of Lexington County basketball teams advance to state championship games


The end of the high school basketball postseason is this week, and 10 champions will be crowned in the Florence Center with two teams from Lexington County still in contention. 

Three teams played in last week’s upper and lower state championships in Florence. The Lexington and Gray Collegiate boys won their contests, but the Gray girls lost, ending their season. 

A season full of battles is about to end, and a lot is on the line for both teams entering this championship weekend. Lexington is chasing history, while Gray Collegiate is looking to go out on top. 

Both the 2A and 5A boys championships will be held this Friday at the Florence Center. 

Lexington boys seeking first state title in 24 years 

Lexington is looking to end a 24-year boys basketball championship drought Friday after advancing to the 5A championship game with a pair of wins last week. 

The Wildcats made it a goal to be in this game at the beginning of the season, and now they earned the program its first state title appearance since 2012, where they will face Byrnes in the night’s final matchup. 

The team punched their ticket to the big game after wins over Sumter, at home early in the week, and Summerville, in Florence. 

Lexington beat Summerville last Friday 56-48. The teams met once earlier in the regular season at Summerville. There Lexington won by a five-point margin. 

Kaleb Evans and Jaxon Prunty led Lexington in scoring during the semifinal match with 13 each. Cam Scott added 10 and Caleb Campbell had eight. 

Against Sumter, the Wildcats took control early, building a double-digit lead at halftime. It was also the final home game for a handful of Lexington seniors, including Scott, the program’s most accomplished player.

“It was surreal, I stood at the middle of the half-court, and just took it all in,” Scott said. “I knew my sub was coming in, so it kind of hurt a little more. But just walking off the court, seeing coach, everybody who supported me for my past five years, it was really special.”

Scott and Lexington have been lights out on the offensive side of the floor all season. The team broke 80 points nine times this season, including a 91-point performance in round one of the playoffs. 

The Wildcats have not lost to an in-state team all season and will hope to keep that streak alive on Friday against Byrnes. 

Gray boys looking for second 3-peat in program’s final 2A game

The War Eagles are looking to close their 2A dynasty by capping the school’s second three-peat and earning their sixth state title in eight years. 

Gray Collegiate defeated Keenan 45-38 last Saturday, and while it was a physical but drama-free match on the court, the off-court noise became the focus after Keenan coach Zach Norris purposefully avoided shaking the hand of Gray coach Dion Bethea. 

“I ain’t even going to put my energy into that,” Bethea said. “We won, we advanced and we’re playing for the state championship on the first.”

The two teams are region rivals and were supposed to play twice in the regular season, but Keenan decided to forfeit the contests due to the SCHSL competitive balance debate. The slight at the end of the semifinal match was another protest from the program.

“To me, that was disrespectful,” Gray forward Trey Maddox said. “I mean, if I was the coach, I would have just shrugged it off and just went into the locker room. That was a good game overall.”

It was a very competitive game indeed. The two teams began the contest by trading buckets. The War Eagles closed the first period on a 6-2 run to lead by five heading into the second. 

Maddox scored the first three points of the next quarter at the foul line to put Gray up eight. That margin held until halftime. 

Gray’s two stars linked up early in the second half to push the lead to nine. Braylhan Thomas threw a lob to Maddox who slammed it down. 

The War Eagles' lead grew to 11 at one point in the third, but Kennan cut it back to nine by the fourth. The next quarter, the Raiders kept fighting and got the lead down to four just one minute in. 

The War Eagles responded to that run and soon were back up double-digits and stayed around there until there was under a minute left in the game. Some missed Gray free throws and Keenan buckets kept the game a contest at the end. 

“When we're under pressure, we all just huddle up, just calm down and just play our game,” Maddox said.

Gray’s win puts the team in the state title game during its final run in the 2A classification. The War Eagles have established a dynasty in 2A and have a chance to go out on top ahead of its transition to 4A. 

The War Eagles will play Oceanside Collegiate in a rematch of last season’s championship. The War Eagles won that game 53-43. 

“It'll mean everything, and that's why I said ‘it's personal,” Bethea said “Us leaving on top of 2A, that's definitely the goal. So, we have one more game to go, and we're going to move forward.”

Gray girls lose to Landrum in 2A girls semifinal

The Gray Collegiate girls fell short of going back-to-back after losing in the upper state championship game to Landrum 31-26 Saturday. 

Gray had multiple looks down the stretch but struggled to make open shots all game. 

“They made more shots than we did,” War Eagle head coach Brandon Wallace said. “We missed a gang of layups around the basket, which is uncharacteristic of our post players, but sometimes it happens like that man.”

The War Eagles’ effort on the glass earned the team second looks at the basket. This allowed them to trade blows with Landrum, who also struggled to make shots but had more success from three. 

The game stayed close the entire time, with neither team leading by more than five points. The score was tied at 17 at halftime, and Gray led by one before the fourth. 

Gray went even colder from the floor at the end of the game. The team went eight minutes without hitting a field goal at one point in the second half. 

Karlee Phelps snapped the scoring drought with a mid-range jumper, but in the final four minutes, the War Eagles made only one more basket.

“Some days the shots fall, and some days they don't,” Wallace said. “31-26, I mean, I can't give defense credit on that one. That's just missing a lot of shots.”

Semifinal Scoreboard 

5A Boys Lower State Championship

Lexington: 56, Summerville: 48

2A Boys Upper State Championship 

Gray Collegiate: 45, Keenan: 38

2A Girls Upper State Championship

Landrum: 31, Gray Collegiate: 26

Championship Schedule 


2A girls: Landrum vs. Andrew Jackson; 2 p.m.

2A boys Gray Collegiate vs. Oceanside Collegiate; 4 p.m.

5A girls Sumter vs. Rock Hill; 6 p.m. 

5A boys: Lexington vs. Byrnes; 8 p.m. 


1A girls Denmark-Olar vs. Lake View; 10 a.m.

1A boys Christ Church vs. Bethune-Bowman; 12 p.m.

3A girls 2 p.m.

3A boys 4 p.m.

4A girls 6 p.m.

4A boys 8 p.m.

[Editor’s note: The 3A and 4A semifinal games are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week]

Lexington basketball, Gray Collegiate basketball, Dion Bethea, Brandon Wallace, Cam Scott, Trey Maddox, SCHSL playoffs


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