In This Weeks Edition: 02-15-2012

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Red Raider Wrestling team ‘back-to-back’ State Champions

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

With about a minute and thirty eight seconds left in the final match of the day at Dreher High School, a smile came over B-E Head Wrestling Coach Cody Slaughter’s face. The 2011 Class 1-A Wrestling Coach of the Year quite possibly was thinking back to when he accepted his present job as head coach of a wrestling program at B-E that had never won a state championship, leaving a powerhouse Gaffney High School athletic program and having some people there question his sanity. Now with back-to-back state championships in his back pocket after his young Red Raider team (losing two quality seniors in David Deleon and Lane Walling ) defeated Abbeville (52-23) in the 2012 Class A State Wrestling Finals Saturday at Dreher High School in Columbia. Slaughter does not regret his decision one bit to come back to his alma mater. “After winning back to back state champions, coming back to Bamberg was definitely the right choice,” a happy Coach Slaughter said after his team’s impressive win over the Abbeville Panthers Saturday.

Slaughter noted that going through the adversity of losing in four previous state finals made winning two in a row special: “It feels good, we went through a string of four straight losses in state championships; so coming back and winning the second in a row feels real good, and the kids are excited and really happy, so that’s all that really matters.

With a large contingency of Red Raider fans cheering them on in the Dreher High School Gymnasium, the Red Raider team got things rolling early with Jeremy Davis (182) and Mark Moody (170) recording pins and giving the team a 12-0 lead. Coach Slaughter noted that coming out early and setting the tempo was a key in the match. “Coming out we wanted to start two of our better kids which really set the tempo for the match,” Slaughter said, adding “things just rolled on after those first pins.”

After two tough B-E losses, B-E’s Miami of Ohio commitment David Deleon (285) would put the team back up 18-15 in a grueling match with a decision over his opponent. After pins by Malcolm Jones (113) and Damion Johnson (120) respectively, the Red Raiders held a 27-18 advantage. Following another tough loss by the Red Raiders, Lan Hiers (138) out pointed his opponent to give the team a 31-23 cushion. Three straight pins by Lane Walling (145), Player Long (170), Casey Jones (152) and a win by DeVondree Williams would send the Red Raider faithful in chants of “back-to-back, back-to-back” in the Dreher High School Gym. It was a total team effort for B-E with Sean Paul Morais (195), Billy Williams (220) and Anthony Chandler (126) also putting up a strong performance.

Coach Slaughter noted that one of the keys to the success of this year’s team was having a number of wrestlers returning from last year’s state championship team. “They did a really good job in those places we expected them to. We had a lot of young kids in the lineup, but we had lots of sophomores and juniors on last year’s team that came back for us.” When asked about this thoughts on the team moving up to Class 2-A next year after dominating Class 1-A the last two years Coach Slaughter said: “We look forward to the challenge in 2-A. We think we can do as well in 2-A as we did in 1-A. We carry a lot of kids with us, we’ll have a lot of experience coming back.”

Bamberg City League

Brianna Jones

The Bamberg City League retired Nyesha Walker’s jersey the past Saturday at home. During intermission, Nyesha, an eleven-year-old girl who suffered a stroke last spring was presented with a commemorative shadow box which included her jersey number six, shorts, a shooting top and a basketball signed by players from Norway and Bamberg. Nyesha was a vital participant in the basketball program in Bamberg often leading her team to victory. Her prognosis continues to be guarded, however we are praying that she will be healed and one day return to the court. She amazes her doctors with her growth and determination to get better.

To our dismay, she returned to the gym with her parents Saturday. Every player wore number six on their shooting top this year to honor her. On Saturday, Reverend Jesse Roundtree, one of the most prolific scorers to ever play in Bamberg gave a very inspirational prayer that certainly moved the audience. The “city league” donated over $350.00 to her recovery with Lauren Harley graciously donating her winnings from the 50/50 raffle, which was over 100.00. Her gracious act of kindness was one of many displayed throughout the day.

Collision damages Neeley Appliance

Jerry Durgan, Contributing Writer

Driver of a Chevrolet Equinox, Larry G. Johnson, Jr., has been charged with one count of open container, one count of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury, and one count of failure to yield to approaching traffic in an early morning two-car accident February 11th in Denmark, on Carolina Highway across from Denmark City Hall.

Three individuals were taken to hospitals early Saturday morning following a damaging 2-car collision on Main Street in Denmark. Names of the injured have been withheld.

According to the Denmark Police Department Incident Report, property damage as a result of the accident included “damaged street fixture - $5,000,” “damage to a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche at $15,000,” and “Damage to Neeley’s store front and appliances at $15,000.”