It wasn’t tears of joy Diamonte Robinson was feeling Sunday morning, a day after Ridgeland-Hardeeville won the Class 3A Lower State championship.
Robinson was in a considerable amount of pain from the wrist injury he suffered in the 51-46 overtime win against Wade Hampton, which earned the Jaguars their second state title trip in the past four seasons. Ridgeland-Hardeeville plays defending state champion Southside on Saturday at Colonial Life Arena.
It is a matchup of No. 1 and 2 ranked teams in the Class 3A poll.
“I was crying, it hurt so much, but I am trying to get it fixed so I can play Saturday,” Robinson said.
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Robinson, who was in a sling at Monday’s state championship media event, said he plans on playing in the game. On Friday, Jaguar coach Jeremiah Faber said he has been cleared for practice and has practiced the past two days.
The Ridgeland-Hardeeville boys will make the trip to Columbia along with the Jaguar girls’ squad. The R-H girls face Newberry in the Class 3A final. The Jaguars defeated Swanesea, 46-40, to advance to the title game.
It is the first state championship appearance for the girls since Ridgeland-Hardeeville was formed in 2012. The Jaguar boys made it to the 2015 Class 2A championship game before losing to Keenan.
“I was just in the grocery store Sunday night and people were congratulating us on making it to the state championship,” said R-H girls coach Frederick Toomer, who led Ridgeland High School to a state championship in 2011. “It has been great. Our journey started off kind of watching the boys because they were undefeated for a long time. But at the same time we were trying to take care of business and be in this position.
“It is great for both teams to come together and give each other a little energy.”
Both Toomer and Faber, who is looking for his first state title in 34 years of coaching, expect a large crowd from Jasper County to make the trip to Columbia.
The R-H girls are led by North-South selection Quanajia Drayton, who is averaging eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals. She had 23 points in the Lower State title game, and Jamee Mack poured in 14.
On the boys’ side, Ridgeland-Hardeeville lost in the third round last season on a buzzer-beater to Brookland-Cayce. All-state selection Rashamel Butler leads the team at 19.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Butler had just nine points in the Lower State championship game against Wade Hampton but was fouled attempting a desperation 3-pointer at the end of regulation against Wade Hampton.
Butler hit two free throws to send the game into overtime. Devin Butler, who scored 19 points in the semifinal win, is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game.
“Our two programs can add their name of elite schools who accomplished it. Everyone is excited,” Faber said. “The excitement of the county is very high for both teams to compete for a state championship.”
Title games schedule
The 2018 South Carolina high school basketball state championship games will be played at Colonial Life Arena.
Class A Girls
▪ 10:30 a.m.: Timmonsville vs. East Clarendon
Class A Boys
▪ Noon: Ridge-Spring Monetta vs. Hemingway
Class 3A Girls
▪ 2 p.m.: Ridgeland-Hardeeville vs. Newberry
Class 3A Boys
▪ 3:30 p.m.: Ridgeland-Hardeeville vs. Southside
Class 4A Girls
▪ 5:30 p.m.: Wilson vs. North Augusta
Class 4A Boys
▪ 7 p.m.: Ridge View vs. Wilson
TV: Columbia (WACH Fox 57.2, 1250 Time Warner Cable); Charleston (WCIV/MyTV); Greenville/Spartanburg (WMYA/MyTV); Florence/Myrtle Beach (WWMB CW 21)
Online: www.nfhsnetwork.org ($9.99)