Gaffney rips Easley, 70-39, to roll into second round

GAFFNEY — It took a little over a quarter on Wednesday, but Gaffney got back to its running ways for playoff time.

The Indians, winners of eight in a row before losing two straight at the end of region play, used a 15-1 run in the second quarter to pull away from a scrappy Easley team for a 70-39 victory at Gaffney High School in the first round of the 5A upper state playoffs.

A second round matchup Saturday at Nation Ford is next for the 18-7 Indians, who dropped games against Spartanburg and Dorman to end the regular season.

“It’s not about those two games. It’s about winning this one tonight and being 1-and-0,” Gaffney coach Mark Huff said. “I said (to the team) by 8:20, let’s be 1-and-0. I was dead on it. It’s 8:20 right now …I’m just glad we got this win and can survive and move on. That’s what it’s all about.”

After an Easley bucket to open the second quarter, the Indians made their 15-1 run over the next 3-plus minutes.

LaDarrius Foster scored five points in the post on three straight possessions to start, grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds. Then, on the next possession in transition Bradley Childers stepped back to elude a defender and knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 25-14. The Indians then turned on the full-court trap.

Stan Ellis picked off an Easley pass at the top of the key and found Childers trailing for another three. Easley’s only point in the run came on a free throw, followed by a Sadarius Bowser putback. Nick Agapion got a rebound after a Gaffney miss that led to a 3-pointer by Nyun Peeler and the Indians had a 32-15 lead.

Elijah McKinney, who made two threes for Easley in the first quarter, picked up three fouls early.

“When they’re over here sitting, they can’t help you,” Huff said. “He’s a good player. It definitely affected the game, but it’s part of the game.”

Childers had 14 points at halftime, but hit four of his five 3-pointers in the second half for a game-high 32 points.

“That’s what we expect from him,” Huff said.

Gaffney opened the third quarter with a 17-2 spurt and the rout was on.

“We shot the ball well as a team in the second half,” Childers said. “That’s something we haven’t done well as a team. We’ve been practicing speeding the game up, and tonight it helped, too.”

Foster added 10 points for Gaffney and McKinney led Easley with 12 .

“We made some mental mistakes and did some stupid stuff,” Huff said. “The competition is going to get better every step we take.”