White Knoll makes history; Byrnes up next

swiseman@thestate.comNovember 8, 2009 

Gordon Walters wasted no time making history at White Knoll High.

In Walters first season as Timberwolves coach, he has led them to the Class 4A playoffs for the first time.

When the S.C. High School League released the playoff pairings Saturday, White Knoll earned the 16th seed in the Class 4A Division I playoffs, which means they will play at top-ranked Byrnes on Friday night.

"Since day one," Walters said, "we've been talking about region championships and playoffs. If you don't talk about it, you're never going to get there."

The Timberwolves will play in the postseason for the first time since 2001. White Knoll moved up to Class 4A the next season in the school's third year of existence, and had never made the 4A field until Saturday.

White Knoll (4-7) enters the postseason on a sour note, having lost 49-21 to rival Lexington. But even that performance, coupled with a daunting trip to play two-time defending Class 4A Division I champion Byrnes (10-1), will not deter the Timberwolves.

"To be honest, this is who us as a program wanted to play," Walters said Saturday. "In order for us to get that level, we want to play the best. We've got to go up there and experience that atmosphere. I think it's a great learning opportunity for us."

White Knoll is one of six Midlands teams in the two Class 4A brackets. Only two earned home games, both in Division I.

Region 5-4A champion Irmo (10-1), the No. 3 seed, will play 14th-seeded Hillcrest (4-7) at W.C. Hawkins Stadium Friday night.

Region 6-4A champion Sumter (9-2), seeded No. 5, plays Blythewood (8-3) at Sumter Memorial Stadium.

Sumter played for the Division I state championship last season, losing to Byrnes. Blythewood will play its first postseason game since winning the 2006 Class 3A championship.

Also in Division I, 15th-seeded Lexington (5-6) travels to second-seeded Summerville (10-1).

In Division II, Richland Northeast (5-6) earned the No. 11 seed at will play at defending Class 4A Division II state champion South Pointe (8-3), the No. 6 seed.

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