CLASS 2A GIRLS: Eau Claire 82, Broome 44
Eau Claire left nothing to chance in its Class 2A third-round game against Broome on Tuesday.
The Shamrocks picked up a 82-44 win on their home court at George Glymph Arena to advance to the Upper State final.
"We didn't want this to be another disappointing year, didn't want it to come down to a shot at the buzzer," coach Precious Caldwell said, recalling the one-point loss to Strom Thurmond on a shot with 1.7 second remaining that kept the Shamrocks out of the semifinals in 2009. "We have been thinking about that from the beginning, and we just told ourselves, 1.7 seconds. That's what we kept saying."
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Her squad displayed its determination from the opening tip.
The Shamrocks (25-0) took the jump ball to the hoop and scored, then came up with a steal and fast-break layup on the Centurions' first possession to set the tone. Broome hung in early with 3-point buckets from guards Madison Floyd and Tamyra Bell.
In the lane,Eau Claire post players Janae Stevenson and Eboni Ross dominated. Broome (18-9) tried just two inside shots during the first quarter; both were blocked. Ross and Stevenson combined for 27 rebounds, and Ross scored a game-high 22 points.
With the inside locked down, the Shamrocks focused on defending Broome's perimeter offense. Guards Amelia Carrie and Akela Brown pressured Floyd, and the Shamrocks prevented the Centurions from finding a rhythm on offense.
"I knew we had to stay focused the whole time and just contest their shots, keep them from being open," said Brown, who contributed four points and three assists. "They only had 3-point shooters, so once we stopped that, we could do what we wanted to do."
And the Shamrocks did.
By the end of the first half, they had extended their lead to 19 points, with Floyd hitting her third 3-pointer of the game to make it 44-25.
"At half, I came back here and told them, I don't want a repeat of last year, where that lead just disappears. They told me I wasn't going to see that this time," Caldwell said.
The Shamrocks outscored Broome 19-4 in the third quarter, and Caldwell sat her starters with six minutes to play.
The Shamrocks will play the winner of the Keenan-Southside game on Saturday at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville.
Eau Claire 82, Broome 44
B: Madison Floyd 15, Tamyra Bell 13, Frye 3, Lyles 2, Gory 7, Wallace 4. EC: Brown 4, Guinyard 4, Amelia Carrie 21, Johnson 4, Jenkins 3, Weston 2, Davis 7, Eboni Ross 22, Janae Stevenson 12, Jones 2.