Bulldogs are back! Marlboro County wins first state title in more than 20 years

Lou Bezjak
·2 min read

For once in these playoffs, Marlboro County didn’t have to sweat out a last-second ending.

As the seconds counted down Thursday, Marlboro players and coaches were high-fiving and in celebration mode as the Bulldogs ended a 20-year title drought with a 71-60 win over Seneca to win the Class 3A championship game at USC Aiken Convocation Center.

It’s Marlboro’s first championship since winning the Class 4A title in 2001. The Bulldogs hadn’t played for a title since 2004.

The Bulldogs advanced to the championship game in large part because of their ability to win close games, taking its previous three playoff games by a combined five points. That included a 54-52 win over Orangeburg-Wilkinson in the Lower State championship as DreVeon Scott hit a shot at the buzzer.

No last-second shot was needed Thursday after the Bulldogs survived a second-half comeback. Marlboro led 54-48 going into the fourth quarter and shot 72.7 percent over the final eight minutes to pull away.

Marlboro, like most teams in the state, battled adversity playing through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulldogs played only 13 games this season and went five weeks without playing a game at one point, from the beginning of December to the middle of January.

On Thursday, Scott led Marlboro with 23 points while DeVonta Oliver added 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The 71-point output tied for their second-highest this season. Despite usually playing at a slower pace, the Bulldogs flashed their ability to run against the Bobcats.

Seneca’s Jared Rogers led all scorers with 28 points. The all-state selection had six of the team’s eight 3-pointers but was held to two points in the final quarter.

EJ Evett added 21 points and 17 rebounds for Seneca, which was making its first championship appearance.