Ridgeland-Hardeeville wears T-shirts with the slogan “Trust the Process” on the front.
With the range of emotions both they and Wade Hampton faced in the boys Class 3A Lower State championship Saturday at the Florence Civic Center, it paid off for the Jaguars.
After seeming to have lost in regulation, Ridgeland-Hardeeville forced overtime with free throws by Rashamel Butler with no time on the clock, then dominated the overtime to come away with a bizarre 51-47 victory in the rubber match between the region rivals.
“I’ve been at this for a while, and every year I say we’re going to win a championship and I’ve stayed strong to that faith,” R-H coach Jeremiah Faber said. “You see strange things happen on the basketball court and certainly that (ending) was a strange incident. Give all the credit to Rashamel (Butler), he hit the most important free throws of his life.”
Ridgeland-Hardeeville will face Southside next Saturday for the 3A state championship at Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena. The Jaguars last made the trip in 2015, when they lost to Keenan. Both the boys and girls teams will be playing for a state championship next weekend.
Wade Hampton took a 40-38 lead on a rebounded stick back from Tyshon Grant with five seconds remaining. The Jaguars inbounded the ball, and Butler threw up a prayer from midcourt but was fouled on the shot as the buzzer sounded.
The Red Devils celebrated, thinking the game was over, but after the officials discussed it, they awarded Butler three free throws. The junior missed the first but made the next two to force overtime.
Devin Butler, who had a game-high 19 points, gave Ridgeland-Hardeeville the lead for good with a 3-pointer to open the extra period.
R-H – Devin Butler 19, R. Butler 9, Robinson 7, Pinckney 7, Williams 4, Ford 3, Pusha 2. WH – Trenton Terry 11, Grant 9, Gray 8, D. Terry 8, Williams 6, Taylor 3, Griffin 2.