Senior guard Jasmine Harrison led Lower Richland to a 58-40 victory against Pickens in the second of the Class 3A playoffs Thursday.
The Diamond Hornets' reserves pitched in with 14 points, which coach Debbie Stroman said is the kind of effort the team needs to reach their fifth consecutive state championship game.
"We've been working a lot on the younger guards and when they doubled up on me, I knew that I had my strong shooters out there, Staci (Harris) and Jasmine (Richardson)," said Harrison, who led the game with 19 points.
Lower Richland, the No. 1 seed out of Region 4, built a 10-point halftime lead and doubled that in fourth quarter.
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Despite going 2-of-14 from the field in the third quarter, the Diamond Hornets were able to hold Pickens (14-6, 7-2) to six points in the quarter to preserve their lead. Junior center Beatrice Williams posted six points in the fourth as the Lower Richland lead never dipped below double digits.
The Diamond Hornets stumbled out of the gate, while the Blue Flames came out hot, hitting two 3-pointers in an 8-0 run.
The Diamond Hornets trailed for most of the period, as Pickens center Kara Morgan posted eight points and three blocks and the Blue Flames lead swelled to 14-8. Then Lower Richland launched its counterassault, halting the Pickens offense with a half-court trap as they went on an 8-0 to take the lead at the end of the quarter.
"That's exactly what we wanted to do, to make them rush there offense and hope that maybe we could get some picks in the back, get some rebounds off the rim," Stroman said. "And I think our defense really stood their ground at that point; you have to play strong in the hole that you're working with."
Quanisha Rice and Justice Nathan posted back-to-back 3-pointers, and Staci Harris converted a back-court strip into a bucket on the run.
When Pickens tied the score early in the second period, Harrison turned up her efforts to keep the Diamond Hornets ahead. She scored six of her 10 first-half points in the final six minutes and Lower Richland went in to the break with a 31-21 lead.
P: McJunkin 2, Robinson 4, Hayes 3, Hunter 8, Kara Morgan 11, Caitlyn Wyatt 10, Roach 2. LR: Davis 2, Harris 2, Rice 6, Jasmine Harrison 19, Nathan 6, Richardson 4, Ashley Edmond 13, Williams 8.