Keenan senior Keira Robinson did not have an especially good outing on Friday at The Cove against archrival Columbia.
But the Class 2A player of the year got it together when it mattered the most — carrying the sixth-ranked Raiders to a season-saving 41-31 win against the Capitals with an inspired performance down the stretch.
Keenan (16-7) will face either Cheraw or Fairfield Central at home in a third-round state playoff game on Tuesday.
Robinson overcame foul trouble and a poor shooting night to lead a decisive 12-1 run to victory over the final 4:15 of the game. The Raider star had a hand in nine of the points during the move — scoring five points and assisting on two other field goals.
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“You want you leader to step it up when the game is on the line, and Keira was able to overcome some difficulties earlier in the game to do just that,” Keenan coach Reggie McLain said.
Robinson, who averages 21 points per game, finished with 15 points and five assists. Daisha Eddy backed Robinson with 11 points.
It might not have been pretty, but Keenan earned a shot at advancing to the Upper State championship game for the second year in a row and the fourth time in the past five seasons.
“It’s not about how pretty you play in the playoffs; it’s all about advancing,” McLain said. “But we need to come out with focus and intensity from the beginning of the game, and put teams away when we have the chance. We also have to find a way to start making some more free throws.”
Neither team shot consistently well in the game. Columbia was 2-for-21 from the field in the first half, and trailed 19-11 because the Raiders were 10-for-20 at the free-throw line.
The Capitals finally caught fire in the third quarter, hitting four 3-pointers to pull even with the Raiders at 26 entering the fourth quarter. Columbia then scored five of the first seven points in the final frame to take a 30-29 lead with 4:47 to go. But a 10-footer in the lane for the lead by Jarea Myers proved to the last field goal for the Caps.
To make matters worse, Alexis Foulks fouled out with 3:32 remaining. The junior forward led the Capitals with 10 points, five rebounds and three blocks.
Columbia closed the books on a rebuilding season with an 11-9 record and three losses to Keenan. The Capitals beat the Raiders three times last season on the way to a state runner-up finish.
C: Roberts 1, Veal 6, Alexis Foulks 10, Woodard 4, Straw 2, Johnson 4, Myers 4. K: Reaves 4, Isaac 3, Perry 2, Hill 1, Daisha Eddy 11, Haggins 3, Rudder 2, Keira Robinson 15.