Spring Valley’s boys basketball team has embraced the underdog role all season. The Vikings haven’t been ranked in the SCBCA poll all season but they’ve stayed the course to claim the Region 4-5A title Friday night with a 60-50 victory over No. 6 Blythewood.
Joshua Felder scored 21 points and Ja’len Robinson added 13 as the Vikings finished region play with a 7-1 record.
“To have this victory means a lot, mainly for the kids,” Spring Valley coach Perry Dozier said. “Nobody knows who we are. None of the kids are big-time Division I recruits, so to play like we did and win as a team is good for us.”
As long as Spring Valley (15-8, 7-1) keeps winning, they will have home court in the Class 5A Upper State bracket until the semifinals are played at Bon Secours Arena in Greenville. The Vikings will find out their opponent this weekend when the brackets are officially released. They face an at-large qualifier in the Upper State.
“It’s a real big deal just to bring a championship to our team,” Felder said. “We’re kind of the underdogs and nobody is talking about us. We have home court now as long as we keep winning, we get to play in front of our fans. That’s big for us.”
The Vikings never trailed after the second quarter. Blythewood (18-7, 5-3) held its final lead at 19-18 and had to try and play catch-up the rest of the night.
Nicolas Doctor gave Spring Valley the lead for good with two free throws with 6:09 remaining in the first half. Felder, who scored 13 of his 21 points in the first half, knocked down a 3-pointer as part of a 14-2 run that gave the Vikings a 28-20 lead.
The lead got to as many as 11 points in the second half. Blythewood made its best run when Iowa State signee Tre Jackson sank three free throws on the first possession of the fourth quarter to bring the Bengals within 42-40.
The Vikings responded with a quick 9-1 spurt to stretch the lead back to 51-41 with 5:07 remaining. The Bengals never got closer than six the rest of the way.
Blythewood, who got 15 points from Jackson and 10 from Julian Phillips, finished in a second place tie with Irmo but the Bengals earn the third seed from the region. They will open up the playoffs on Wednesday on the road at Berkeley.
On the girls side, Spring Valley had five players finish in double figures as the defending Class 5A state champions rolled to a 76-34 victory.
Taylor Lewis and Ashley Williams scored 15 each to pace the balanced attack. Destiny Coleman added 10 and Tykiera Wiley and Taylor Britt chipped in with 10 each.
The Vikings (22-3, 8-0) will host a first round contest on Tuesday against an at-large team in the Upper State playoffs.
SV – Joshua Felder 21, Ja’len Roberson 13, Moore 7, Neal 6, Doctor 5, Tolbert 5, Grady 2, Wright 1. B – Tre Jackson 15, Julian Phillips 10, Manuel 8, Thompson 8, Williams 5, Hardy 2, Range 2.
SV – Taylor Lewis 15, Ashley Williamson 15, Destiny Coleman 13, Tykiera Wiley 10, Taylor Britt 10, L. Taylor 9, K. Taylor 2, Lee 2. B – Alexis Mims 12, Weeks 7, Emetu 5, Pickney 2, Jones 2, Terry 2, Jwanier 2, Nichals 2.