Lower Richland’s girls basketball team reached another level of achievement by defeating Orangeburg-Wilkinson in the Class 3A state championship game at Colonial Life Arena.
The Diamond Hornets capped a perfect, 26-0 season with a 57-35 victory that netted the program its seventh state championship without a loss under coach Debbie Stroman. LR now stands in second-place on the all-time girls hoops champions list. And no program – male or female – has as many titles on the books without at least one finals failure.
LR now joins the Columbia High boys, the Eau Claire boys and the long-gone Olympia boys as the all-time Midlands leaders with seven state championships.
The top-ranked Bruins, who finished 27-2, were good enough to reach the finals from the second year in a row, only to be blown out. O-W was drubbed by Dutch Fork last seasin in its last season at the 4A level. The loss was the first this season for the Bruins against a South Carolina team.
Lower Richland seized command of the game with a 24-3 run from 1:30 of the first quarter to 6:15 of the third – a burst that turned an 8-6 deficit into a 30-11 lead. The Diamond Hornets were on cruise control the rest of the way.
Junior center Breshay Johnson and all-state senior guard Jasmine Richardson were the LR leaders in the finale. Johnson rang up a double double – 14 points and 14 rebounds – and Richardson scored 13 points.
Christian Brown, Dayonshe Mitchell and Ashley Irving also made significant contributions. Brown had seven points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Mitchell, the other senior on the roster, bowed out with seven points, three assists and two steals. Irving had four points and did not score from the field, but had six steals and four assists.
The top-ranked Bruins could not deal with LR’s defensive heat. In the end, O-W had 24 turnovers and shot 23 per cent (11-for-47) from the field.