For the first three quarters, the Eagles trailed the Wildcats the entire game. In the fourth quarter, the Eagles exploded for 21 points in the fourth quarter to earn a hard fought 46-34 victory over the Wildcats in basketball action.
West Bolivar improved to 2-1, while Cleveland fell to 1-2.
Senior guard Frank Fields spearheaded the Eagles’ attack as he scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half. Fields also finished with six steals and five rebounds.
“Frank is always great,” West Bolivar head coach Cedric Armstrong said. “He is a guy that excepts his role, comes in and plays tough defense and scores. Frank is a good kid. He comes out and does great.”
Trailing 23-13 early in the third quarter, the Eagles started to chip away at the lead as Fields hit a basket to cut CHS’s advantage to 23-15. West Bolivar continued to chip away at the lead and was able to cut Cleveland’s lead to two points at 27-25 heading into the fourth quarter. With the score tied 27-27, Fields hit another basket to put West Bolivar ahead 29-27. After Cleveland tied it up again, West Bolivar’s Deguadereck Rice and Kendrick Scott each drained key buckets, while Ladarius Shavers nailed a basket and a free throw to put the Eagles up 36-29 with 4:50 left to play. The Wildcats never could catch up as the Eagles ended up flying away with the win.
“We went with a quicker group to try that can really create tempo,” Armstrong said when talking about how his team was able to get more points. “We tried to get up and down and get easy lay ups because the jumper wasn’t falling. That’s going to be our game. If the jumper is not falling, we’re going to go to a quicker group.”
Wildcats head basketball coach James Strong said his team just couldn’t finish the game.
“We kind of let them off the hook at the end,” Strong said. “Coach Armstrong did a good job of adjusting and started running a little pressure. Instead of us being patient, we kind of freaked out and lost our head a little bit and threw the ball away. They got back in the game and took the lead in the fourth quarter.”
Reggie Foster, who scored 11 points with three 3-pointers in the first quarter to push Cleveland ahead, got a lot of attention from the West Bolivar defense the rest of the way. Foster ended up finishing the game with 16 points including four 3-pointers to lead the Wildcats. Nobody else on the team scored more than six points.
“He (Foster) was knocking a couple of shots down which I expected coach Armstrong to adjust and he did adjust, but we have to adjust as well,” Strong said. “If they crash out on him (Foster), somebody else has to step up and make shots. We have a lot of sophomores and I guess they’re not ready to do that yet. It’s back to the drawing board and hopefully by the end of the year they’ll be ready.”
For West Bolivar, Rice was the Eagles’ other double digit scorer with 11 points and three assists. Shavers scored seven points with four steals, and Scott scored five points and pulled down five rebounds to aid the Eagles.
Cleveland will return to the basketball court on Thursday to play St. Joe in Greenville, while West Bolivar will host Shaw on Thursday.