High School Sports

Playoffs: 5 Midlands girls teams to watch

Spring Valley Vikings

The Vikings eschewed dynasty talk early in the season, despite returning all five starters from their Class 4A title-winning squad. The proof, they said, would be in the playoffs. To prove its fans correct, Spring Valley will have to be prepared to take its A-game on the road in the third round for a potential matchup with 20-1 Northwestern.

Lower Richland Diamonds

After losing three starters from last year's championship squad, the Diamond Hornets battled inexperience early in the season. Led by senior guard Jasmine Harrison, Lower Richland pulled through to put together a five-game winning streak to win the Region 4-3A championship. The Diamond Hornets have a chance to win their fifth consecutive state championship.

Eau Claire Shamrocks

Eau Claire figures to dominate Class 2A with home-court advantage through the third round. Spurred by a preseason No. 3 ranking, the Shamrocks marched to a 22-0 regular-season record, outscoring opponents by an average of 25 points per game with a quick transition game and dominating post play. Last year, the Shamrocks suffered a last-second loss to Strom Thurmond in the Upper State semifinals.

Dutch Fork Silver Foxes

After sharing the Region 5-4A title in 2008-09, the Silver Foxes were determined this season to hold the trophy alone. Led by 6-foot-4 freshman center Alaina Coates and sophomore guard Donnesha Shuler, Dutch Fork powered to the championship despite some slip-ups midway through the region schedule.

A.C. Flora Falcons

The surprise of the season, the Falcons put together an eight-game winning streak to start the season, emerging as one of the stronger teams in Class 3A. Led by senior Kim Roach, A.C. Flora wields a defense that can adapt to its opponent's size and speed, and has a well-rounded offense featuring a productive bench.

- Compiled by Akilah Nelson

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