The Newberry girls wasted no time neutralizing Fairfield Central in the third round of the Class 3A playoffs on Monday night.
The Bulldogs forced 15 turnovers in the first quarter, jumped to a 30-2 lead by the midway point of the second quarter, and closed out a 64-35 victory to head to the Upper State championship game for the fourth straight year.
“We set goals for ourselves every game,” Newberry coach Melissa Mendenhall said. “Our goal is to try to score so many points each quarter. It fluctuates depending on the game.”
Newberry (23-4) plays Seneca for the Upper State title on Saturday at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville. Seneca beat Emerald 77-69 on Monday.
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Four of the team’s five starters were in double figures. Kelsey Felks had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Rehgan Miller had 14. Zacharia Epps added 13 points, and Rayanna Davis had 10.
“I knew if we could cut down our turnovers, then we could have a chance,” Fairfield Central coach Amelia Miller said. “But we couldn’t cut down on them.”
Instead, Epps opened the scoring with a basket and a 3-pointer, Davis hit one of two foul shots, and Miller drained the first of her four 3-pointers in the opening minute. The Griffins took their first timeout 1:34 into the game. By that time, Newberry was up 9-0 on four Fairfield Central turnovers.
Newberry led 42-12 at the half.
“We’re really more concerned about ourselves and how we play our game,” Mendenhall said.
Jameria Sampson led the Griffins (10-13) with 16 points. Cristin Gray had 10 rebounds.
“They’re an elite team. They’ve got great players,” Miller said of Newberry. “We didn’t quit, though. We made some mistakes along the way, but we didn’t quit. Not one time.”
N: Kelsey Felks 15, Rehgan Miller14, Zacharia Epps 13, Rayanna Davis 10, Davis 6, Havard 6. F: Jamaria Simpson 16, Collier 7, Gray 6, Boyd 3, Woodard 2, Anderson 1.