High School Sports

Youth serves Dutch Fork

Dutch Fork's Shelby Curtis, center, makes a pass to a teammate as she is defended by Wando's Emily Willowbe.
Dutch Fork's Shelby Curtis, center, makes a pass to a teammate as she is defended by Wando's Emily Willowbe.

Dutch Fork's youthful girls basketball team ran past Wando on Friday and into the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs.

Faye Norris' fast-maturing Silver Foxes downed the visiting Warriors 75-59. It is their eighth win in a row since a three-game losing streak in a six-day span in January seemingly cost them a shot at the Region 5-4A championship and home court advantage in the playoffs.

Dutch Fork (20-5) will host either West Ashley or Carolina Forest in third-round action Monday.

"We hit a period where our lack of maturity cost us some games, but the girls also learned a valuable lesson about their roles within the team," Norris said.

"With that understanding, we've been playing with a lot more confidence, and it shows. Tonight we had some rough spots, but when we really needed it the girls were able to pick it up."

Wando seemed to be on the ropes in the third quarter after Dutch Fork opened the second half with a 13-0 run and built a 52-33 lead with 57 seconds remaining in the third quarter. But the experienced Warriors scored the last seven points of the quarter and eventually cut the Dutch Fork lead to 57-50 with 4:32 to go.

The Silver Foxes responded with a 10-0 burst to seal the deal with 2:31 remaining.

"We forced things a little at times, and we didn't shoot free throws very well, which is something we to have to improve on," Norris said. "But we sure made some big ones when it got close there at the end."

Dutch Fork converted just 17 of 34 attempts at the line in the game but was 8-for-10 during the late move to seal the deal. Freshman point guard Kyla Wigfall did all of her scoring in the final 3:50 of the game, hitting 7-of-8 free throws.

As usual, freshmen Alaina Coates and Donnesha Shuler did the bulk of the scoring for the Silver Foxes. Wando had no answer for the 6-foot-4 Coates, who poured in a game-high 30 points on 13-for-18 shooting from the floor. Shuler scored 20 points, 14 in the second half.

Emily Willoughby and Danielle Blunt led Wando with 20 and 18 points, respectively, in their final high school game. The Warriors finished with an 18-7 record.

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W: Morgan Behrens 13, Emily Willoughby 20, Danielle Blunt 18, Campbell 6, McTighe 2. DF: Wigfall 7, Curtis 6, Donnesha Shuler 20, Stokes 4, Alaina Coates 30, Snipe 6, Davis 2.

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