McCORMICK — Trey Bryant lived up to his name.
Saluda’s junior guard couldn’t miss from 3-point range Wednesday night during the Tigers’ 75-69 win against McCormick, burying seven treys and finishing with a game-high 27 points.
Bryant hit four consecutive 3-pointers at one point in the first half, which helped Saluda grab a 30-15 lead.
Overall, Saluda (4-1) finished with 13 made 3-pointers.
Saluda head coach Andre Lytes said shooting the ball was a point of emphasis for his team entering the season.
“I feel like I’ve got four or five that can really shoot it,” Lytes said. “We’re so athletic that a lot of teams are afraid to play us man. We’ve worked hard on shooting. That was our struggle last year, and those guys have put in a lot of effort to get better this year.”
McCormick (0-3) pulled close in the second half, as an A’Chean Durant 3-pointer tied the game at 49 with 2:50 left in the third quarter, then a made free throw gave the Chiefs a brief one-point lead.
Durant, who is Mataeo Durant’s younger brother, made the 3-point shot after checking back into the game following a tweaked ankle.
He led the Chiefs with 15 points.
“I think he could potentially, when it’s all said and done, be one of the best ones,” McCormick head coach Rico Salliewhite said of Durant. “We just try to keep him grounded and humble. You know, we bust his butt every day at practice just like he’s a senior. He’s going to be fine. He comes from a good crop, so we’re excited about him.”
McCormick played Saluda close for the rest of the third quarter, and even had possession with a chance to tie the game at 56 before the start of the fourth quarter.
But the Chiefs were penalized after failing to in-bound the ball in time, which allowed Saluda guard Dallan Wright to sink a buzzer-beating 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, growing the Tigers’ lead to 59-54.
“I was extremely proud of my kids. They did everything I asked them to do tonight. As far as some of the execution things, that probably hasn’t been worked on as much as it should have, just because we’ve got such a young group,” Salliewhite said. “So, I’ll take responsibility for the lack of execution late in the game, but extremely proud of my kids.”
Saluda, which had practiced just three times entering Wednesday’s game because of a long football season, had four players finish in double digits.
Wright’s 3-pointer was one of three in the half for him, and both Raquon Hartley and Kennan Brooks had 11 points.
Hartley had a dunk in the second half that brought the fans to their feet, then dished a behind-the-back assist to Bryant later in the game.
“We have to play that way. We’re small,” Lytes said. “I probably don’t have anybody over 6-foot-3, so we have to play quick, we have to play fast and we’re hoping to pick it up more.”
Saluda 22 17 20 16 — 75
McCormick 13 19 22 15 — 69
Top Scorers — S: Trey Bryant 27, Dallan Wright 16, Kennan Brooks 11, Raquon Hartley 11, Bubba Robinson 6, Osyrius Springs 2, Jervon Whitt 2. M: A’Chean Durant 15, Zi Holloway 13, Lavar Fambrough 12, Daruis Sibert 9, Silas Cannady 7, Nehemiah Dansby 7, Ka’Neko Wideman 4.
3-Pointers — S: Trey Bryant 7, Dallan Wright 3, Kennan Brooks 3, Bubba Robinson 1. M: A’Chean Durant 1, Lavar Fambrough 1, Daruis Sibert 1.
Records — Saluda (4-1), McCormick (0-3)
Next — 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Strom Thurmond at Saluda; 7:30 p.m. Friday, High Point at McCormick