ABA BASKETBALL

South Carolina Warriors reach Elite Eight final

For The Sun NewsApril 6, 2013 

— The South Carolina Warriors moved a step closer to a shot at the American Basketball Association title on Saturday night as they rolled past Bluff City (Memphis, Tenn.) 142-123 at the Carolina Forest Recreation Center.

Seven of eight Warriors scored in double figures, paced by a pair of former Coastal Carolina players. Mario Edwards had a team-best 23 points and nine assists and Jon Pack had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Shaq Johnson added 22 points, Don Hughes had 18 and Berry Jordan had 16.

Both teams traded points early and were tied at 23 with 3:09 left in the first quarter before the Warriors began to flex some muscle.

South Carolina went on a 27-7 run over the next eight and half minutes to stretch the lead to 50-30 with 7:41 left in the first half.

“Our kids got a little lackadaisical, but a W is a W,” Warriors coach John Kefalas said. “… We haven’t played for a month, so we were kind of stale, but we just played through it.”

The Warriors (29-1) led by as many as 33 points in the second half, and held on to a sizeable lead the rest of the way despite a spate of whistles and a tough effort from the Reign.

“I’m not going to say anything, but the officiating changed the game … but we just stuck in there and played. What more can I tell you? We win and we got [29] fouls called against us,” Kefalas said.

Maurice Mickens, who was named to the ABA All-Star game earlier this week, had a game-best 46 points in the losing effort.

“He scored 50 against us the last time,” Kafalas said. “We tried to keep the ball out of his hands, but obviously we didn’t do a very good job with that. But at the end of the day, It’s like the old saying ‘One guy’s not going to beat you.’ ”

The winner of Saturday’s late game between the Chicago Steam and the Jersey Express will face South Carolina on Sunday at 5 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to the ABA’s Final Four later this month in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Warriors have won 51 straight home games.

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