MATT STEWART firstname.lastname@example.org
MOUNT VERNON — Cameron Williams exploded for 40 points Thursday and helped lead Sherwood Christian to its first playoff win in nearly a decade.
Sherwood (20-5) was faced with a tough draw in round one of the GISA Class AA state playoffs, but came away with a 72-66 win over Memorial Day — the top regular-season seed from Region 2-AA before a loss in the first round of its region playoffs.
“This was the fastest team by far we’ve seen all year,” Sherwood head coach Matt Ruta said. “A very big test.”
The Eagles’ playoff exam doesn’t get any easier from here. Sherwood faces GISA Region 4-AA’s top seed, Arlington Christian (22-3), Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Elite Eight.
The game will be played at Brewton Parker College.
“The big thing is, no matter how you cut, we’re 32 minutes away from the Final Four,” Rutta said.
Sherwood jumped out to a 24-5 lead at the end of the first quarter Thursday against a smaller Memorial Day team, but the pressure from Memorial Day’s speedy lineup began to wear on the Eagles, which saw their lead cut to three in the fourth quarter.
Sherwood, which also got 15 points from freshman Dequan Green and nine from Wesley Pittman, held on late by making its free throws down the stretch.
“At times we could have folded after being up so big early and having them rush us at the end,” Rutta said. “But we held them off.”
Memorial Day was led by Shaad Wright’s 23.