Three-time defending Class 4A champion Dutch Fork jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the opening four and a half minutes and cruised to an 86-72 win against visiting Dorman on Friday in a matchup featuring the state’s preseason top-rated girls basketball teams.
The Silver Foxes are looking to become the first 4A girls team to claim four consecutive titles.
Faye Norris saw a lot to like in the first half, but she watched her veteran team fall into a funk after the break. The Silver Foxes were never in danger of losing, but the sloppy showing in the second half will be a point of attention.
“We came out and played great,” Norris said. “We were aggressive and created a lot of easy scoring opportunities, but we got into foul trouble and let (Dorman) off the ropes. We didn’t hold our composure when we found ourselves under pressure in the second half. That’s what we’ll be stressing next week when we get ready to play Dorman again.”
Among the issues were poor free throw shooting and turnovers. In the third quarter, Dutch Fork was 5-for-13 at the line and turned the ball over 14 times.
“We have to work on holding it together when we get in foul trouble,” Norris said.
Early on, it was all Dutch Fork. The defense forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter, 16 in the first half and the harried Cavaliers were hounded into an icy 6-for-24 field goal shooting effort.
The lead ballooned to 34 points (58-24) early in the third quarter, but things started to change when fouls became an issue. After senior leader Morgan Williams went to the bench, Dorman went on a 23-6 run.
But even when the starters were all back in place in the fourth quarter, Dorman kept chipping away. The Cavaliers, however, took too long to respond to the Silver Foxes’ fast start.
“Our two post players got into foul trouble early, and we couldn’t get a rebound,” Dorman coach Valorie Whiteside said. “(Dutch Fork) got nine offensive rebounds in the first quarter. That’s 18 points that we just could not make up. The kids played hard and with a lot of heart in the second half, but we have to come out like that. We can’t keep waiting until we get in trouble to pick it up.”
Despite sitting for a significant time, Williams scored a team-high 19 points with seven rebounds, seven steals and three assists. The senior forward had four points, three boards, three steals and her three assists in the first quarter helped fuel the fast start.
Junior Olivia Anderson (16 points), senior Zhane Green (12) and freshman Madison Golden (12), Jennifer Shearouse (9) and Cherise Daniel (9) were part of the balanced Dutch Fork scoring show.
Dorman (1-3) had a 31-point effort by 3-point bomber Taylor Petty, the only returning starter off a team that fell to Greenwood in the Upper State title game.
Dutch Fork (2-0) is off until hitting the road for the rematch with the Cavaliers on Dec. 12.