One of the Upstate's top high school rivalries is Daniel vs Seneca. I have long referred to it as the "Highway 123 Rivalry". The two schools are separated by just about 10 miles and most of that stretch is along the highway the rivalry bears the name of. Friday night at Seneca, marked the 1st installment of the hardwood version of the rivalry. That came after Daniel kept a stranglehold on the football end of things, back in the fall in convincing fashion.
Seneca took the night's opening game, as the Lady Bobcats downed the Lady Lions 44-36. The game was tied at 25 after the 3rd, a 19-9 4th quarter propelled Seneca. in the 1st few minutes of the final frame Seneca opened with a 12-4 run to take control. Freshman Miyana Chamberlain paced Seneca with 11. Sophomore Jazmyne Gideon added 7 and had some key defensive plays down the stretch for Seneca. Gideon is the daughter of former Daniel Boys Basketball standout Corey "Boom" McMullen. The win puts Seneca at 2-1 in Region 1 3A play which put them in a log jam tie for 2nd currently.
In the Boys game, Daniel came away with a 58-53 rivalry win in a hostile environment. It was a great and raucous atmosphere at Seneca as usual, but that is amplified when Daniel comes to town. Both student sections were excited, loud and rocking, as I set courtside below them. Daniel from the early going all the way through. The game was back and forth in the 1st half, before the Lions finished the opening half on a 14-9 run to lead 32-23 at the break.
Daniel found early offensive punch from Hayden Anderson and multi-sport standout Jaylen Brown-Wallace. The two combined for 22 of Daniel's 32 first half points. Daniel would lead by as many as 14, but Seneca fought back. The Bobcats trailed by a dozen at 43-31 after the 3rd. They would outscore 22-15 in the final frame and clip the lead to as little as 5 on multiple occasions. Seneca missed on multiple attempts with under a minute left trailing by five and Daniel was able to seal the win.
Anderson would finish with a game high 19 to led the way for the Lions. Brown-Wallace would add 16. Seneca had three in double figures led by Junior Guard Cam O'Kelley with 19, 9 of those came in the 4th. Senior Center Jaxson Burnette had 16 for Seneca and Guard Zay Poole added 14.
Daniel Coach and former Blacksburg High All-State selection Ben Touchberry had his finger on the pulse of the game. He threw multiple defensive looks at Seneca, as Daniel ran 5 different defensive looks at Seneca which slowed them down some. Daniel was able to get dribble penetration quite a bit against Seneca's man to man defense.
The loss moves Seneca to 2-1 in region, they are in a 4-way tie for 1st currently. The win put Daniel back in the mix after they lost to Walhalla last week. West-Oak clipped Walhalla Friday night, so all four are at 2-1 in Region 1 3A. Seneca and Daniel will meet in Pickens County for the next installment of the rivalry series January 31st.