A.C. Flora and Chapin advanced in the Class 3A state girls basketball playoffs with first-round Upper State wins on Monday. It was a different story altogether for the three area entries in the Lower State bracket where Airport, Brookland-Cayce and Swansea were eliminated.
Flora (15-9) ripped host Travelers Rest 64-42, and will have another long trek up to Greenville County on Thursday for a second-round date with Riverside. Kim Roach paced the Falcons with 22 points, and had double-digit backing from Tiara Knotts (14), Jasmine Stubbs (14) and Emani Harrison (10). It was the sixth straight first-round win for ACF since 2004.
The Falcons jumped on the Devildogs 20-11 in the first quarter and had a commanding 54-27 edge entering the fourth quarter. Roach had eight field goals and was 6-for-7 at the free-throw line. Flora was 17-for-23 at the line.
Chapin (19-6) topped visiting Greenville 49-42 as Layla Neal tossed in 17 points and Ashlee Wilson chipped in 14. The Eagles travel to face unbeaten Seneca on Thursday. The Bobcats blitzed Blue Ridge 85-34 on Monday behind 23 points from Icey Patterson. Chapin has made it to the third round just two times (2002 and 1997) since the playoff brackets expanded to 32 teams in 1993. In both cases, the Eagles fell victim to Columbia one game short of making the Final Four.
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Region 5-3A nearly suffered a wipeout on Monday in Lower State action. Only region champion Dreher survived, and the Blue Devils nearly blew a late 15-point lead against Lake Marion, a No. 4 seed, before escaping with a 70-67 win over overtime. Region mates Airport, Brookland-Cayce and Swansea weren’t nearly as fortunate.
Airport dropped a 53-44 decision to North Charleston to close with a 12-12 record. It was the seventh straight playoff loss for the Eagles, who are 1-11 in postseason play. Brookland-Cayce dropped a 68-47 road decision to Hilton Head to close at 8-14. It was the fifth straight playoff loss for B-C, which is 1-6 in playoff matters since making the cut in 1998. Swansea was drubbed 61-20 by Battery Creek, finishing at 10-13. Unlike Airport or B-C, Swansea has enjoyed state success through the years (24-20 playoff record), but Monday’s 41-point losing margin was the worst on the Tigers books.