McCORMICK — Ninety Six High School guard Rod Johnson didn't find out until just hours before Tuesday's game at McCormick he was cleared to play.
That was fortunate news for him. It was unfortunate news for McCormick.
Johnson drilled three 3-pointers and scored a team-high 13 points in his return to the court to lead the Wildcats to a 51-41 victory against the Chiefs.
The junior, who missed the first five games of the year nursing a left-ankle injury suffered near the end of football season, didn't start, but definitely left his stamp on the game once he got on the floor.
"It was fun," Johnson said of being back on the floor. "I've been playing with these guys for a long time, and I'm just glad I got to get out here and play with my brothers again."
The points Johnson scored weren't quite as important as the moments in which he scored them. Two of his 3-pointers came in the third quarter, with both boosting Ninety Six's lead back to double digits at times when McCormick had trimmed the Wildcats' lead and was threatening to get back in the contest.
"It's good to have him back. It makes a difference," Ninety Six (4-2) coach Ike Dickey said of Johnson. "From the ball-handling and the scoring point of view, it's huge having him out there. He works incredibly hard on defense. He was a little bit off on his timing, but we talked about it, and I think we've got that worked out."
Ryan Booker (12 points) and Grant Dickey (11) also scored in double figures for Ninety Six, which trailed just once in the opening minutes of the game. After a 3-pointer from Dickey put the Wildcats ahead 5-4, they never trailed again.
FOR MORE OF THE STORY READ THE INDEX JOURNAL