On several occasions this season, Irmo was able to overcome its poor-shooting nights.
But Friday night wasn’t one of them. The Yellow Jackets had their worst offensive output of the season, losing 44-32 to Goose Creek in the Class 4A Lower State championship game at the Florence Civic Center.
The Gators will play the Dutch Fork-Spring Valley winner next Friday in the state championship game at Colonial Life Arena.
“Awful,” Irmo coach Monica Williams said. “Our shots weren’t falling, and they got us out of rhythm what we wanted to do offensively. We just had a tough night.”
Irmo shot 10-of-62 (16.1 percent) from the floor and 10-of-30 from the free-throw line in the loss.
All-state selection Ke’Asia Jackson was held to a season-low five points on 2-of-13 shooting before fouling out late in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets went a nine-minute span between the second and third quarter without a field goal and trailed 26-18 after three quarters.
“You could tell the kids were frustrated on the court,” Williams said. “It was an ugly game. Goose Creek had a lot to do with it. We were ready for their zone and practiced against it. But we just lost our poise out there.”
Irmo got as close 36-32 with 1:05 left, but the Gators – who had their own shooting woes – closed out the game on the free-throw line. Sophomore Mariah Linney hit five straight free throws over the final minute after missing six straight to begin the fourth quarter.
Goose Creek was 14-of-33 from the free-throw line but made six of its final eight attempts.
“It’s not how you drive, it’s how you arrive,” Goose Creek coach Tim Baldwin said. “We made them when they counted. These kids played their butts off, and, right now, we are riding high.”
Linney led all scorers with 17 points and is averaging 16.5 points in Goose Creek’s four playoff games. She averaged 11.5 points in the regular season. Zaleria Simpson added 12.
Taiylar DeMoss led Irmo with 10 points. The Yellow Jackets finish the season 23-5 and were making their second lower state championship appearance.