It was a very good night for Midlands teams in the first round of the Class 4A state girls basketball playoffs On Tuesday.
In addition to an easy win by defending champion Spring Valley, Dutch Fork Ridge View, Irmo and Blythewood all prevailed to advance to Friday’s second round. The lone misstep was by Sumter, which dropped a first-round heartbreaker to Wando for the second year in a row.
DUTCH FORK 65, FORT DORCHESTER 34
Donnesha Shuler had a monster game for the Silver Foxes (19-5), ringing up 25 points (on 11-for-19 shooting from the field), nine rebounds and five steals. Freshman center Alaina Coates was imposing inside with 11 points, 17 boards and six shot rejections. Freshman point guard Shelby Curtis finished with 12 points, seven assists and two steals.
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Dutch Fork hosts Wando (in second-round play on Friday. The Warriors advanced with a 58-56 win over Sumter thanks to 5-0 run in the final 42 seconds.
RIDGE VIEW 71, GAFFNEY 55
The Blazers (18-5) broke it open in the third quarter with a 23-14 burst. Elizabeth Styles set the pace with 22 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Alexus Jackson and Jazzmine Johnson added solid backing. Jackson had 14 points and six rebounds, while Johnson contributed a double-double - 13 points, 10 rebounds.
Ridge View has a major second-round test on tap Friday at Dorman. The Cavaliers, who won three straight championships (2006-08) before being deposed by Spring Valley in the Upper State championship game last year, blitzed Wren 85-39 in the first round. Mikala Scott poured in 24 points for the 14-10 Cavaliers, who forced 34 turnovers by the Golden Hurricanes.
IRMO 54, COLLETON COUNTY 41
The Yellow Jackets (18-7) allowed the host Cougars to scored a meager seven points in the first half and were on cruise control the rest of the way. Sarah Green and brooke McCants had the big numbers for Irmo. Green sported a double-double – 19 points, 10 rebounds. McCants fired in 18 points of torrid shooting – 5-for-6 from the field, 8-for-10 at the free-throw line. Jessica Gathers helped the cause with seven points and 10 rebounds.
The Jackets face a tough challenge when it hits the road to face Region 6-4A champion Hartsville (19-6). The Red Foxes defeated old playoff rival Orangeburg-Wilkinson 75-54 last night. It was only the second first-round exit for the Bruins in the last 21 years. Top gun Jasmine Phillips (20.2 ppg) pumped in 28 points for Hartsville
BLYTHEWOOD 62, YORK 51
The Bengals improved to 4-0 in first round playoff games in a strange road outing. Blythewood jumped out to a commanding 14-0 lead, fell apart in the final minute of regulation (blowing a 45-40 lead) while allowing York to force overtime and finally blew away the Cougars in the extra session.
Leandra Culbertson led the Bengels double-figure scoring parade with 18 points, followed by Aaliyah Keels (13), Kierra Brown (12) and Lashonda Canty 11.
Next up for Blythewood (14-10) is a Friday road trip to Greenwood to face the aggressive, 20-4 Eagles, who ran by Mauldin 63-46 last night with a big second-half effort. Greenwood beat the Bengals, 49-27, at the Taco Bell holiday tournament at Keenan in December.