Lou Bezjak

Notebook: Many high school basketball division races coming down to the wire

Ridge View head coach John Combs shouts instruction to players in a game against Irmo in the Class 4A boys basketball state championship at the Colonial Life Arena in 2015.
Ridge View head coach John Combs shouts instruction to players in a game against Irmo in the Class 4A boys basketball state championship at the Colonial Life Arena in 2015. caberry@thestate.com

Ridge View boys basketball coach John Combs envisioned this kind of chaos before the season started.

Combs figured the Region 4-4A race wouldn’t be decided until the last few days of the regular season and things have held true to form. Blythewood, Ridge View and Spring Valley all have clinched playoff spots, but their order of finish can go a variety of ways.

The Blazers (5-3) began the week with a possibility to miss the playoffs or win a region title. After Tuesday’s 70-43 victory over Lugoff-Elgin, Ridge View can win the region if it beats Blythewood on back-to-back nights Thursday and Friday. Thursday’s game is a make-up game from Jan. 22 when it was postponed because of weather.

“It doesn’t shock me. I knew it was going to be tight,” Combs said. “I hoped we would have been in this position to win a region title, so we have our shot.”

Despite losing to Westwood on Tuesday, Blythewood (6-2) also controls its own destiny and can wrap up the region title with two wins over Ridge View.

Spring Valley (6-3) can lock up a top two spot in the region with a win over Westwood, and Blythewood losing one of two to Ridge View.

The race for the final spot in the region comes down between Westwood and Dutch Fork, which are both 4-5. Redhawks coach Terry Dozier will have to beat his brother Perry and Spring Valley on Friday or hope Dutch Fork loses at L-E to get the fourth spot.

Here is a look at playoff scenarios for some of the other regions in the Midlands:

BOYS

Region 5-4A: Irmo has clinched region but Lexington can wrap up second with a win over White Knoll and a North Augusta win over South Aiken.

Region 5-3A: Midland Valley has clinched the region but the winner of Thursday’s Airport vs. Brookland-Cayce game clinches second and a first-round home playoff game.

Region 3-2A: Keenan and Fairfield have clinched playoff spots and the Raiders win the region by winning one of their final two games. The final two spots come from Newberry (6-5), Eau Claire (5-6) or Columbia (5-6).

Region 3-A: McBee (7-2) C.A. Johnson (6-3), Lewisville (6-3) and Lamar (6-3) all have clinched playoff spots. CAJ can clinch the second spot and a home playoff game with a win over Lamar and a McBee loss to Lewisville. If Lewisville wins, there will be a three-way tie for first place.

SCISA 1-3A: The winner of Thursday’s Cardinal Newman-Heathwood Hall game clinches a share of the region title and a first-round bye in 3A playoffs. The winner gets the championship outright if Hammond loses to Ben Lippen.

If Hammond defeats Ben Lippen on Friday and Heathwood wins, the Skyhawks win the region title outright. If Hammond and Cardinal Newman both win, a coin flip will decide the No. 1 seed from the region.

GIRLS

Region 4-4A: Spring Valley clinches the region with a win Friday against Westwood.

Region 5-4A: Lexington wins the region with a victory over White Knoll and a North Augusta loss to South Aiken. If they both win, NA is No. 1 seed based on tiebreaker.

Region 3-2A: Keenan (9-1) wins the region title with victories in final two games. If the Raiders lose one of their final two, there is chance of a three-way tie with Newberry (9-2) and Fairfield Central (9-2).

Region 3-A: C.A. Johnson (9-0) wins the region title with a win over Lamar (8-1) on Thursday. If Lamar wins, a one-game playoff will be held at a neutral site to determine the region champ.

SCISA 1-3A: Hammond (7-0) clinches the region title with a win over Ben Lippen (6-1). If Ben Lippen wins, a coin flip decides the No. 1 seed from region.

Dreher’s Kleinfelder picked for Soccer Hall

Longtime Dreher girls soccer coach David Kleinfelder will be part of this year’s class of the South Carolina Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame.

Kleinfelder will be inducted in June along with Wando girls coach Scott Ferguson. It is the latest honor for Kleinfelder, who was named the 2015 South Carolina Soccer Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Coaches Association. He also will be a coach for the South Carolina Class of the Carolinas.

Kleinfelder has 451 wins in his 37-year career, with 303 coming as Blue Devils boys and girls coach. He also won 148 as Lexington boys coach.

Kleinfelder has won 13 region titles, and the Blue Devils captured the Class 3A girls state championship last season.

Nix stepping down at SCHSL

South Carolina High School League assistant commissioner Dru Nix announced this week she is retiring after 21 years with the organization.

Applications for her replacement are being accepted until Feb. 29 and anticipated start date July 1. Nix’s last day is June 30.

Shrine Bowl combine

The Shrine Bowl will hold three combines for players in South Carolina this spring and summer.

Combines will be held April 16 at Spartanburg, May 21 at Wando and June 11 at Lexington High School.

Newberry’s Phil Strickland is the head coach for the S.C. squad.

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