As the 2014-15 basketball season begins, six area girls squads have been pegged among the state’s top performers, and three local players were spotlighted by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association at its annual preseason banquet on Wednesday.
Coach Faye Norris’ Dutch Fork squad got the coaches’ votes as the No. 1 Class 4A squad, but she and senior center Morgan Williams, one of the state’s top five seniors, said that means the Silver Foxes will have to work harder.
“Now we’ve got to go out and prove it,” Norris said. “It’s not time to sit down and say ‘I’m number 1,’ it’s time to work harder.”
The Silver Foxes won their third state championship in March, led by Williams and guard Syndey Shull. With Shull graduated, Norris said, the Silver Foxes are looking for strong leadership at the guard position.
Williams said, “We’re trying to achieve the same goal that we did last year, but it’s a new season and we’re starting over fresh. We’re ranked No. 1 – that’s where we’re ranked as of now – but we’re starting just as fresh as every other team, so it’s anybody’s game.”
Coach Anne Long’s Spring Valley team is ranked third in 4A, and Irmo is fifth.
Irmo’s Ke’Asia Jackson was selected among the division’s top seniors.
“It feels real good to be back,” Jackson said. “It’s kind of disappointing, to be a senior, because I just want to keep playing high school basketball. But we had a great season last year, and I’m looking forward to helping my team have another great season this year.”
In Class 2A, the Keenan Raiders were the top local team, at No. 5. Newberry was voted No. 6, and coach Bobby Young’s Columbia team starts the season with a No. 7 ranking.
Deidre Davis, who led Eau Claire in rebounds and steals as a junior, was selected on the division’s top five seniors.
Absent from the Class 3A rankings are the defending champion Dreher Blue Devils, and perennial contender Lower Richland. Both teams lost key players after last season’s runs, but could make their way toward the top as the season progresses.