High School Sports

Girls hoops: Final Four spots up for grabs tonight

Three Midlands girls basketball teams put Final Four playoff bids on the line tonight.

Lower Richland, winners of four straight state championships, hosts Travelers Rest in the Class 3A quarterfinals with a trip to the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville on Friday for the Upper State championship game.

Defending 4A state champion Spring Valley heads up Interstate 77 to Rock Hill for a quarterfinal date with Region 3-4A champion Northwestern for a spot in the Upper State title bout in Greenville.

Youthful Dutch Fork hosts West Ashley in a game that will send one team to the Class 4A Lower State championship game on Friday at The Citadel’s McAlister Fieldhouse in Charleston.

Lower Richland (17-6) has won seven in a row since dropping a one-point decision to Chester on Jan. 22 that left the Diamond Hornets standing at 3-2 in Region 4-3A and in danger of having to play on the road in postseason for the first time in eight years. But LR’s late rush and Chester’s final-week collapse resulted in a three-way tie for first place with the Diamond Hornets emerging with the tie-breaking edge for the No. 1 seed.

Debbie Strohman’s rebuilt team has rolled by Chapman (57-29) and Pickens (58-40) in the playoff to date. Jasmine Harrison’s 19 points led the LR charge vs. Pickens, and Ashley Edmond leads the team with 25 playoff points.

Travelers Rest (18-7) upset Riverside 49-45 in the second round behind Kayla Jenerette, who hit her season average against the favored Warriors with 22 points.

This is uncharted territory for the Devildogs, who have not been past the second round of the state playoffs since losing to Andrew Jackson in the 3A state championship game in 1971.

Spring Valley and Northwestern have hardly broken a sweat in the first two rounds of play.

The Vikings (24-2) crushed Hillcrest 71-29 in the second round behind double-double performances by Xylina McDaniel (20 points and 10 rebounds) and Savonia Bryan (12 points, 10 boards). Asia Dozier had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists. Dozier and McDaniel both were credited with six assists.

The Trojans (24-1) smoked Laurens 58-24 in their second round game at neighboring Rock Hill High because their own gym was in use for wrestling qualifying. No matter. NW leader Kelia Shelton rang up 21 points in little more than three quarters of action.

Tonight’s game marks the first third-round outing for the Trojans since 1999.

Dutch Fork (20-5) advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2006 with a solid 75-59 win over Wando. Tonight, the Silver Foxes take on another Lowcountry club at home in West Ashley, which got past the second round for the first time in school history with a 60-46 round over Carolina Forest.

Freshmen Alaina Coates and Donnesha Shuler were the big guns for DF in the second-round triumph. Coates, a 6-foot-4 center who is averaging 18.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.2 blocks a game, deposited 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds vs. Wando. Shuler, who is averaging 18.0 point, 5.7 rebounds, 3.6 points and 2.4 assists per outing, backed Coates with 20 points.

Chentieh Ladson (16.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and Dekeiya Cohen (9.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) are the Wildcat leaders. West Ashley brings a 19-4 record into the fray.

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