The Spring Valley girls basketball team, still smarting from last season’s late collapse in a loss to Goose Creek in the Class 4A state championship game that denied them a second straight title, is off to a 3-0 start this season.
The Vikings won the championship at their own preseason Viking Invitational tournament by defeating Lower Richland (62-25) and Dreher (77-34) and opened the regular season on Tuesday with a 67-22 conquest of Hartsville in their first road game of the campaign.
Ann Long’s team returns six of the top seven players from last season’s 26-3 squad that lost only to Goose Creek in games against South Carolina teams. Ironically, the Gators beat V by identical scores in two championship games a year ago – in November at the Viking Invitational and in March at the Colonial Life Arena.
The top returning hands include all-state picks Asia Dozier (15.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 4.2 spg) and Xylina McDaniel (17.4 ppg, 8.3 ppg, 3.9 spg), guards Briana Robinson (12.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.3 spg) and Shaquita Walker (11.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 4.7 spg) and forward Savonia Bryant (5.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg).
Reserve forward Juliette Love is also back after averaging 2.5 points and 2.7 boards last season. Newcomers to watch include Kelcee Dozier, Stephanie Mack and Latisha Smith.
Asia Dozier had 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in the season-opening win against LR. McDaniel took scoring honors with 16 points in the tournament title game vs. Dreher with 16 points, and she also chipped in eight boards, three assists and two steals. Dozier finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
McDaniel (16), Dozier (15) and Walker (12) were the double-digit producers at Hartsville. McDaniel grabbed eight rebounds, including six off the offensive glass.