PREP BASKETBALL

Lady Gamecocks roll past White Knoll 56-31

By DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 2/14/18

Just as Jeff Schaffer didn’t know what to expect from a young Sumter High School girls basketball team that he took over as head coach just a couple of weeks prior to preseason practice, he …

This item is available in full to subscribers

PREP BASKETBALL

Lady Gamecocks roll past White Knoll 56-31

Posted

Just as Jeff Schaffer didn't know what to expect from a young Sumter High School girls basketball team that he took over as head coach just a couple of weeks prior to preseason practice, he wasn't sure what he would get from it on Tuesday in its 5A state playoffs first-round game against White Knoll.

What he got for the most part was more of the success that helped the Lady Gamecocks transform from a 3-18 team a year ago to one that finished second in its region and is a top 10 team. SHS outscored the Lady Wolves 22-9 on the way to a 33-12 halftime and an eventual 56-31 victory at the Sumter gymnasium.

"First-round playoff games can always be scary because you just don't know how your team is going to react," said Schaffer, whoe team improved to 16-6 on the season. "And with this team, that was really true because this is the first time any of them has played in a state championship tournament.

"I think we may have actually been a little too loose at the beginning," he added. "Once we settled down and started running our offense the right way, we were OK."

The Lady Gamecocks advance to the second round. They will travel to North Charleston on Friday to take on Fort Dorchester. The Lady Patriots, the No. 2 team from Region VII with a 17-5 record, defeated Dutch Fork 73-63 at home on Tuesday in their playoff opener.

SHS managed to take an 11-3 lead after one quarter, but it started to kick it into gear in the second quarter. Sumter got points from five different players in that quarter, led by Tamerah Brown who drained two 3-point baskets for six points. Carnasia Wells hit another trey on the way to five points and Latrice Lyons and Nina Edlow both had four.

"I really do think we were pretty nervous at the start of the game," said Lyons, one of four seniors on the team. "At the same time though we were excited to be playing in this game. It took us a little bit to get going."

"Once we started running our offense the way the coaches want us to, we were fine," Edlow said. "We were ready to play, we just had to settle down and focus."

WK, the fifth-place team from Region V that finished with a 9-13 record, never could get into any kind of offensive flow throughout the game. Yet Schaffer wasn't overly happy with his team's defensive performance.

"We just stayed in our 3-2 zone," Schaffer said. "We've got to do a better job of taking away straight line cuts to the basket. We were letting them do that too much, and we're getting ready to face some teams that will make you pay when you let that happen."

The Lady Gamecocks had their usual balanced scoring attack. Layken Cox was the only double-figure scorer with 13 points, but Brown, Edlow and Lyons each had eight. Wells and Dynasia Jackson finished with five apiece.

Jalisa Squirewell was the leading scorer for White Knoll with 12 points, 10 of which cam in the fourth quarter. Japonica Wilson added nine.

Edlow said what has transpired for SHS this season didn't come as a shock.

"It's really not a surprise to me at all," she said. "We put in the work and did what we were supposed to do to get better. We deserved (the season) we had."