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South Pittsburg’s historic season comes to an end

Posted on Friday, March 15, 2024 at 12:00 pm

SHANE SHOEMAKER

Writer

 

The South Pittsburg boys’ basketball team’s historic season came to an end last week at the hands of Gordonsville, losing 59-45 in the Class 1A East Sub-State Sectionals.

It was a rough start for the Pirates, who scored just seven points in the first half. Five of those were from RaCash Kelly, who had a remarkable senior season. He was the Pirates’ leading scorer for the evening with 14 points. He finishes his career at South Pittsburg with over 1,000 points.

With the Pirates down 32-7 at the half, that left a daunting task for them to overcome.

The Pirates outscored the Tigers in both quarters of the second half. In the third quarter, they posted 20 points to the Tigers’ 13, mostly by going beyond the arc four times, thanks to Sam Pratt, Jamarion Farrior sinking one a piece, and Calvin Gilley scoring two of his own.

It still put the Pirates in an 18-point hole, down 45-27 going into the final frame. That would actually be the number of points they would score in the fourth quarter, with Kelly scoring another nine, Pratt scoring six, and J.R. Hardrick scoring four. But the Tigers kept ahead, mostly with their impressive work at the foul line where they went an impressive 12-for-13 and held off any sort of comeback.

The Pirates accomplished one of the most impressive seasons in school history for boys’ basketball. They finished the year with a 22-8 overall record, winning the District Championship, then made Region runner-ups and finished with a Sub-State appearance, making for only the second team in program history that had been done.

“They just bought in, and they were so unselfish this year,” head coach Cody Henegar said of what made this team so special this season. “It’s so easy to go stop one player, but when you’re so unselfish, you can’t stop everybody.”

That buy-in mostly came off a talented group of seniors that Henegar will be losing next season. Seven to be exact.

“I said when I came in my first year – and I got spoiled in my first year when we won the District Championship. That kind of set the standard for my expectations,” Henegar said. “That’s the bare minimum – you’ve got to win the District Championship. Well, now the bare minimum is getting to a Region Championship. With our district and our region, I feel like we can get to that Region Championship just about every year.”

This concluded Henegar’s third year at South Pittsburg, leading the Pirates to their second District Championship in three seasons.

“In my third year here, we’re getting some expectations, setting some standards, and getting a little culture here, which is nice,” Henegar said. “People start to care about it a little more.”

The Marion Tribune – March 14, 2024