Phase 2 of the South Carolina state basketball playoffs for Midlands teams begins on Thursday with games featuring Dreher, Lower Richland and C.A. Johnson.
Dreher, 21-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, puts its 17-game winning streak on the line against Myrtle Beach. The Blue Devils ran by Hartsville 61-20 in the postseason opener on Monday. In all 10 players got into the scoring act with Kaydra Duckett and Johneisha Myers leading the way with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Lower Richland (18-4) travels to Region 7-3A champion St. James after beating Lakewood 56-32 on Monday behind Breshay Johnson and Justice Nathan, who scored 14 and 11 points, respectively.
C.A. Johnson (13-9) advanced to the second round for the second time in school history by downing Ridge Spring-Monetta 52-30 in Class 1A first-round play on Monday. The Green Hornets look to write a new chapter of history with a first-ever second-round win tonight against Abbeville, a 44-34 winner over St. Josephs.
FRIDAY, FEB. 17
In Class 4A, Dutch Fork is the only Midlands team with a home game. Spring Valley, Ridge View and Lexington are on the road.
Dutch Fork pounded Lancaster 69-34 in the first-round opener on Tuesday. In all, 10 players scored for the No. 1 Silver Foxes. Donnesha Shuler led the way with a double double (15 points and 13 rebounds), Rose Robinson finished with 11 points, three steals and three assists, Shelby Curtis tallied 11 points and Sydney Shull chipped in 10 points. Center Alaina Coates retired early with seven points and eight rebounds.
Second-ranked Spring Valley (21-4) jumped up to a 38-0 lead en route to an 85-38 route of Spartanburg. The defending state champions face their first true road playoff game (other than neutral site affairs) since 2008 on Friday at Dorman the first in the Anne Long-Asia Dozier-Xylina McDaniel era.
Ridge View (19-6) is coming off an impressive 64-44 win over Region 6 champion Sumter, and is back on the road again in the Lower State bracket on Friday at Summerville. Nikia Squire (20 points, 10 steals), Alexus Jackson (17 points, 16 rebounds), Jontay Mitcham (12 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists) and Victoria Marshall (8 points, 11 assists) headlined the rout in Sumter. The Blazer goal in Summerville is to advance past the second round for the first time in program history.
Columbia (19-4) toyed with Buford in the first round on Tuesday, beating the Yellow Jackets 52-22. Alexis Foulks (15 points) and Norrisha Victrum (13) led the way for the Capitals, who have won 13 in a row. Columbia had a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and had a 30-3 edge at halftime. The Caps host 17-6 Saluda, a 55-24 winner against Chesnee.
The other 2A girls survivor is Keenan, which moved on thanks to a 38-22 home win over Lee Central. The Raiders (12-10) have a tough road test on tap Friday at Broome against the Region 2 champion Centurions (21-3). To say Broome should be highly motivated is an understatement after last seasons 58-55 season-ending loss to the Raiders in the third round. Jocolby Brown and Keira Robinson led Keenan against Lee Central with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Lower Richland and A.C. Flora opened the 3A boys playoffs on Tuesday with wins to emerge as the only Region 5 survivors.
Lower Richland (17-8) stays at home against Myrtle Beach in second-round action on Friday. The Diamond Hornets, who earned two straight Final Four appearances, are lock in on reaching the state finals for the first time since 2004.
A.C. Flora (17-8) mastered Crestwood 69-57 for its first state playoff triumph in 22 years. The Falcons, who have won nine in a row, head for Florence and a date with Region 6 champion Wilson.
C.A. Johnsons boys (11-11) opened the 1A playoffs with a 69-59 first-round home win over Denmark-Olar on Tuesday. Peter Goodman led the way for CAJ with 19 points. The Green Hornets have a long trip up I-26 to face a potent Landrum team (22-3) that crushed Ninety Six 100-50 and tossed in 16 field goals from 3-point range. CAJ beat the Cardinals in Landrum, 54-40, in the second round a year ago.
SATURDAY, FEB. 18
Irmo and Lexington stay put at home in the second round of the Class 4A boys state playoffs.
Defending state champion Irmo (23-3) hosts Hillcrest in the Upper State bracket, while Lexington (21-5) welcomes West Ashley in the Lower State. Irmo dispatched Northwestern 63-37, while Lexington avenged a bitter loss to Ridge View in last seasons Lower State championship game by thumping the Blazers 77-52 on Wednesday.
Richland Northeast (21-4) defeated Spartanburg 59-45 to advance to the second round and a road trip to face 23-3 Dorman, which prevailed 68-55 over Woodmont in the opener. The game is a rematch. Dorman sent RNE packing in the second round a year ago, 64-43. Quiron Cook (14 points), Steve Haggins (13) and Travis Hammonds (12) paced the typically balanced RNE attack against Spartanburg.
Upset first-round winner White Knoll and Spring Valley are on the road. White Knoll (14-13) is at South Florence, while Spring Valley takes on Aiken for the third time this season. The teams split two non-region games in early December.
In 2A boys, top-ranked, two-time defending state champion Keenan hosts Saluda and city rival Eau Claire plays at Newberry.
Keenan (22-2) crushed Central 103-36 in first-round play on Wednesday. The Raiders scoring parade featured Erick Tisdale (17 points), Quinton Johnson (13), Britton Reed (12), Joshua Harper (11) and Marcus Stroman (10). It was the 14th win on a row this season for Keenan and the 11th straight postseason triumph.