Dutch Fork’s youthful girls basketball team jumped out to a 20-2 lead on the way to a 71-52 win over Greenwood in the Taco Bell Holiday Classic championship game on Wednesday at Keenan.
The Silver Foxes (9-2) stunned the Eagles with a 20-2 burst in the first quarter behind the dominant inside play by 6-4 freshman center Alaina Coates. The emerging star scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots in the opening eight minutes. In the end, Coates finished with 22 points, sharing game scoring honors with sophomore guard Donnesha Shuler, and was named the tournament MVP. Shuler made the all-tournament team.
“I’m happy with our performance in the tournament,” said DF coach Faye Norris.
“We very, very young, very aggressive and willing to learn. Those are the plusses. It’s been a joy to watch these kids grow and mature with each passing game. Tonight we got off to a great start, then went into rest mode and had to regroup. But that’s what happens when you have a team as young as this one. We’re still learning that sometimes its better to slow things down.”
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Greenwood recovered from the shock treatment it received in the first quarter to push the Silver Foxes over the final three quarters. But the scrappy effort never reduced the DF lead to less than 11 points the rest of the way.
The Eagles put together a 9-2 that cut the Silver Foxes edge to 42-31 with 2:01 remaining in the third quarter, and seemingly had momentum on their side. Enter Coates, who scored five straight points that help DF up the lead to 49-33 entering the final quarter. Coates scored off an alley-oop inbounds pass from under the basket by freshman point guard Kyla Wigfall, and added a three-point play off the offensive boards on the next Silver Foxes possession.
Shuler help put the verdict on ice by scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Coates and Shuler received double-digit scoring support from freshman Shelby Curtis and junior Sierra Stokes, who tallied 10 points apiece.
Dutch Fork, which lost to Goose Creek at Spring Valley’s preseason tournament and dropped a non-region outing to Ridge View, carries a six game winning streak into the restart of the Region 5-4A season on Jan. 5 at White Knoll. The Silver Foxes share first place with neighboring Irmo in early region testing.