Friday, December 28, 2012

Richland Northeast Edges AC Flora in a Thriller

***See full game highlights and leading scorers for both teams here.***

I anticipated this game being a battle between two of the Palmetto State's best guards: AC Flora's Matt Howard and Richland Northeast's Aaron Scott.  But during the game's first half, Howard stole the show, scoring 15 of his team's 26 points and almost singlehandedly matching Richland Northeast's 16 point half.

The most impressive thing about Howard's play throughout the contest was his patience.  His 27 points all came within the flow of the offense.  And he shot a high percentage, often attacking the basket in transition.

But after Richland Northeast's Quiron Cooke and Kendall Benjamin led a comeback capitalized by a Benjamin dunk off a feed from teammate Devante Anderson with less than a minute remaining, Howard's team needed him to be aggressive.  And he responded with two difficult scores in the mid range in the final minute.  The second appeared to be enough to force overtime.  But Richland's Aaron Scott followed his own miss and scored the game winning shot just before the buzzer.

The game was full of exciting moments, including Howard's barrage of scoring, Benjamin's "go ahead" dunk, Howard's late game heroics, and Scott's game winning put back.  The video above shows the final minute of action in sequence.  And the video below shows the clips from University of Pennsylvania signee Matt Howard's game leading 27 points.

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