High School Sports

A.C. Flora hangs tough, falls late

GREER -- Riverside girls basketball coach Jenny Taylor said she saw it coming.

Minutes after the Warriors had defeated A.C. Flora 37-36 in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs Thursday night, a couple of Riverside players showered Taylor with the remains of the water bucket.

"They outran me," Taylor said.

The Warriors (21-2) were a step ahead of the Falcons as well, though it was a small step.

Riverside junior point guard Chelsey Johnson nailed a 3-pointer that tied the score at 33-33 with 5:10 remaining.

Points, tough to come by all night, were especially difficult to collect down the stretch. A short bank shot by Sharonda Tate and a free throw by Johnson gave Riverside a 37-33 lead with 2:29 left.

The Warriors led 37-36 and had the ball, but A.C. Flora (15-10) forced a jump ball and took possession with 16.4 second to go.

With two seconds remaining, the Falcons were called for a travel. Riverside needed only to inbound the ball away from the A.C. Flora basket to secure the victory.

Johnson led Riverside with 13 points. Kristin Hancock and Brittany Thomason -- also juniors -- added eight points apiece.

Tiarra Knotts scored 13 points for A.C. Flora, but Falcons coach Patti Moore said her team's free-throw shooting -- 4 of 10 -- was costly.

"I thought we played tentative," Moore said. "I thought we played not to lose, instead of to come out and win. But they're a good team. They hit some big shots."

Many of the Warriors' biggest shots came during the second quarter, after they had fallen behind 16-7. Three-pointers by Johnson and Hancock helped Riverside pull to within 21-19 by halftime.

"Some teams that I've had in the past would have just folded," Taylor said. "This team, they just don't. They never do, especially this group of juniors. It doesn't matter how far they got down. They came back. They're just very determined."