The Sumter girls basketball team got an up-close-and-personal look at a McDonald’s All-American on Monday, and it was not a pretty sight.
Dutch Fork’s Alaina Coates scored 29 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked five shots and altered many, many more as the Silver Foxes rolled to a 69-29 victory in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs at Sumter gymnasium.
“She’s just a great player,” Sumter coach Chris Vandevander said of Coates, who was named to the All-America team last week. “We were trying to double team her, and she was just too big and too strong for us.”
Defending state champion Dutch Fork (27-0) now advances to face Aiken in Friday’s semifinals at the Florence Civic Center.
Sumter (19-6) appeared to be shell-shocked against Dutch Fork. Coates scored eight seconds into the game, and two Sumter turnovers made it 6-0 48 seconds into the contest.
The Gamecocks turned the ball over on their first five possessions against the Foxes’ 2-2-1 three-quarters trap before throwing up an air ball for their first shot. They finally got a shot to the rim with 5:54 remaining in the first quarter.
“I think we were a little too timid on offense,” said Vandevander, whose team had 13 points in the first quarter. “We wanted to give them respect, but I think we were too tentative when it came to our offense.”
The Gamecocks finally got on the scoreboard on a Tiera Burgess layup that made it 6-2 with 5:35 to go. Dutch Fork ran off seven points to go up 13-2 before Sumter cut it to 13-6. Dutch Fork scored seven points in the final 1:36, five from Coates, to lead 20-6 after the first quarter.
“I really wasn’t pleased with the way we played offensively in the first quarter,” Foxes coach Faye Norris said. “I think we came out a little uptight offensively, but after the first quarter we played really well.”
Dutch Fork started getting the ball to Coates on a consistent basis as she scored 12 points in the second quarter as the Silver Foxes led 36-12 at halftime.
Vandevander was impressed with Dutch Fork’s supporting cast.
“I don’t know what their guards shot tonight, but they came ready to play,” the Sumter coach said. “When they got the open shot they hit it.”
Sydney Shull added 15 points for Dutch Fork, while Morgan Williams had 10.
Christian Hithe led the Gamecocks with nine points while Burgess had seven.
“We had a real young team, so hopefully this will be a very good experience for us for next year,” said Vandevander, who had just one senior, Julia Sorrells, in the starting lineup.