Hooker, Smith lead Rams past Raiders

Hooker, Smith lead Rams past Raiders

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Hooker, Smith lead Rams past Raiders

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LAURENS

The Hillcrest Rams boys’ basketball team may not feel any pressure over being the No. 2-ranked team in the latest Class AAAA poll, but its opponents sure have felt the pressure playing against the Rams all year.

Just ask Laurens.

Tyler Hooker hit four 3-pointers and scored 18 points, while Tre Smith added 17 as the Rams got scoring from 12 players and used a 23-2 run from the early second quarter into the early third quarter, and ran away with a 69-36 victory.

Hillcrest is now 11-1 in the region standings, and clinched a share of the region championship with Hanna. The Rams are also 19-3 on the season. Laurens is 6-5 in region play, 14-7 overall.

Hillcrest forced 26 turnovers and held the Raiders to just 12 points in the first half as they continually deflected passes and made life miserable for the Laurens offense.

During a season where the Rams have looked outstanding at times, coach Reggie Choplin felt this performance stood out from the rest.

“It’s one of our better performances on both ends of the court. I thought we had a pretty complete game tonight,” Choplin said.

Hillcrest played at a speed Laurens simply couldn’t match, and the lead ballooned to as much as 40 midway through the fourth quarter before both teams substituted heavily with reserves.

Chrishawn Guest and D’zondra’ Cunningham led the way for the Raiders with seven points each, while Khalid Taylor added six.

Hillcrest finishes the regular season with a home game against Westside Tuesday, then a road trip to Woodmont Friday. Laurens has three games next week, starting with a home date against T.L. Hanna on Tuesday.

* In the girls’ game, Miaya Seawright had 20 points, including three 3-pointers, as the Rams won their sixth game of the season with a 45-37 victory over the Raiders, who are fighting for a playoff spot.

Hillcrest coach Kristy Ray said Seawright has been more of a wing player in the past, but she’s developed her game since moving to the point.

“She’s learning that role better. She’s a natural scorer, but to pass it and see the floor, she’s developed those skills,” Ray said.

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