Prep rewind

What to watch in the high school basketball playoffs

ainelson@thestate.comFebruary 22, 2014 

A look at what’s going on as the basketball playoffs head into the second round:

Three things we learned

Irmo’s defense can hold

Coach Monica Williams’ Irmo Yellow Jackets girls posted a 17-point win over Hillcrest at home on Thursday.

Despite the disparate result, the Rams were able to play Irmo close early in the game.

But the Yellow Jackets’ defense shut down Hillcrest’s offense in the second quarter, allowing one basket and forcing 10 turnovers.

There were some aspects of the game the Yellow Jackets were not satisfied with, but that kind of defense will come in handy in a championship game.

Conditioning comes in handy

The C.A. Johnson Hornets are set for their fourth game of the week as they host Greenville Tech at 6 p.m.

The Hornets, who played two region games — including the tiebreaker for the Region 3-A title — this week, believe they will be ready for this second-round game because of their intensive conditioning.

Coach Daryl Jarvis’ 14-9 squad is composed almost entirely of two-sport athletes, and their athleticism and stamina will be a big asset as the postseason goes on.

Lower Richland has a complete team

It may have already been obvious, but the 23-1 Diamond Hornets have the tools needed to win another Class 3A title. In its 50-point win over Clinton in the first round, Lower Richland displayed offensive poise and defensive grit. And with scoring from 11 players — including more than 20 points off the bench — the Diamond Hornets demonstrated they can dominate no matter who they put on the floor.

Three things we don’t know

Can the Braves make it a close game against Keenan?

The No. 1 seed Raiders defeated Andrew Jackson by 25 and will host Cheraw, a 15-5 No. 2 seed out of Region 4-2A in the second round.

The Braves average 63 points to the Raiders’ 72, but with 29 rebounds and 13 steals per game, Keenan’s defense could make this game another runaway.

Will Chapin pull off another upset?

The Chapin Eagles girls finished third in the tough Region 4-3A, behind Dreher and Lower Richland. At Union County, a No. 2 seed, the Eagles pulled off an 80-53 win.

But in the second round, the Eagles face the division’s top-ranked squad in the undefeated Daniel Lions.

The Eagles (15-10), led by ShaLeighya Sulton, have been in the right region to prepare for such a challenge.

Will Dreher’s defense make the difference?

The Blue Devil boys, Region 4-3A champions, are evenly matched with 18-5 Eastside on offense, both averaging 57 points per game. But Dreher (16-6) has a strong presence on the boards, and an average nine-point margin of victory.

Eastside gives up 51 points per game — for a five-point victory margin. In what should be a close game, the Blue Devils’ defensive rebounding could provide the winning edge.

Three top performers

Jevante Gross, Irmo

Posted 17 points and 10 rebounds in a win against Greenwood

Chris Adams, Spring Valley

Led the Vikings in 99-69 win over Woodmont with 26 points

Taziya Moody, Irmo

Scored 23 points to lift Irmo over Hillcrest

Three games to watch

Girls: Keenan at Fairfield Central, 4 p.m.

This region 3-2A rematch gives Bria Jackson and the Raiders a third shot at region champion Fairfield Central. The Griffins’ wins over Keenan have been by 6 and 10 points, and both the 14-9 Raiders and Fairfield Central (17-4) have posted two lopsided victories since.

Girls: Wren at Dreher

Wren eked out an upset win over Southside in the first round. Dreher notched a 40-point win over Chester. For the Blue Devils, the challenge is to avoid overconfidence in facing the No. 4 seed Hurricanes.

Wren is led by Nakol Franks and Allie Wagner, who combine for 30 points and 13 rebounds per game.

Boys: Byrnes at Spring Valley, 4:30 p.m.

Spring Valley (12-12) moved into the second round with a 99-69 win against Woodmont.

With rebounding from Jordan Bruner and Chris Adams, the Vikings look to push past the 14-9 Rebels.

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