High School Sports

Spring Valley roars into title game

Spring Valley players celebrate their win over Greenwood during the Class 4A upper state final game between Greenwood and Spring Valley at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, SC, Friday, February 26, 2010.
Spring Valley players celebrate their win over Greenwood during the Class 4A upper state final game between Greenwood and Spring Valley at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, SC, Friday, February 26, 2010.

GREENVILLE - Spring Valley ended the Class 4A Upper State final the way it intended.

After playing Greenwood close in the first half, the defending champion Vikings (26-2) pulled away in the third and rolled to a 59-36 victory at the Bi-Lo Center.

"That's the way it's supposed to be," said junior Jocelyn Lawrence, who sparked the Vikings' second-half surge with five points and seven rebounds. "We didn't want to just win by 10. We wanted to keep playing until the buzzer sounded."

The Vikings outscored opponents by 30 points or more in each of the first three rounds. Greenwood had averaged 64 points per game in those rounds. Spring Valley led by double digits twice in the first half, but the Eagles kept nipping at their heels.

In the third quarter, the Vikings extended their lead to 11 points, but a two-minute lull saw the Eagles pull within five.

But in the final 90 seconds of the period, Xylina McDaniel posted five consecutive points and Briana Robinson drilled a long three-point bucket from well beyond the arc to make it 42-30 going into the fourth quarter.

"There was a lot of pressure on us because of the way we played at first, but there was no way we were going to lose that game," said McDaniel, who led the Vikings with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

There was no coming back for the Eagles (24-5) after that.

Greenwood was scoreless for three minutes as Spring Valley stretched its lead to 20 points before Courtney Raiford scored the Eagles' first basket of the period.

The Vikings never trailed despite a shaky start.

"We were taking some shots that were out of character for us, rushing some shots and just really not playing our game," coach Anne Long said.

"We were too excited to begin with, and we had to settle down so we could play our game," Shaquita Walker said.

The scrappy sophomore guard led the Vikings as they disrupted Greenwood's offense in the second quarter with a half-court, pressure defense and held the Eagles scoreless for nearly four minutes. The Vikings ran their lead up to 11 points with 3:34 remaining in the half. Then Greenwood's Da'Naji Archie put up two 3-pointers to halve the deficit.

The Vikings will face Goose Creek, the only team to beat them this season, for the Class 4A title at the Colonial Center on March 5.

"Even though we were expected to be here, we still had to do the work to get here, no one was going to just give it to us," Long said.

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G: Raiford 5, Powell 2, Ethridge 2, Andrews 5, Shaniqua Hunter 12, Tsantakis 2, Archie 6, Day 2. S: Robinson 9, Shaquita Walker 11, Asia Dozier 16, Bryan 1, Lawrence 5, Xylina McDaniel 17.

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