The West Ashley girls basketball team struggled in the first quarter against North Augusta, but then flexed its muscle and showed why it is the No. 2 team in the state.
The Wildcats outscored the visitors 16-9 in the second quarter to take a 28-21 lead into the locker room and settled the issue with a 15-2 run to begin the third quarter. The 68-40 conquest gave the Wildcats an 11-game winning streak and a 22-1 record.
It also gave them a date in the third round of the Class AAAA playoffs. The Wildcats host Aiken on Monday. Aiken advanced with a 58-45 upset of Summerville. North Augusta bowed out with a 13-7 record.
Friday’s start was just the opposite of the Wildcats’ 70-31 victory over Fort Dorchester in the first round. On Wednesday, the Wildcats jumped out to a 32-7 lead after one quarter.
“We knew this would be a different game,” West Ashley coach Maria Williams said. “We know they would want to run, and the key was to slow them down while keeping our pace uptempo. We made a change in the second quarter to a matchup zone and that put more pressure on the ball. The 2-3 (zone) wasn’t working.”
Once again, Dekeiya Cohen dominated. She outscored the Fort team 35-31 and followed that up with a 33-point effort against the Yellow Jackets despite getting into foul trouble in the first quarter. She added 18 rebounds and blocked five shots.
“She’s determined,” Williams said. “She’s on a mission and is hungry to win. She has that positive energy and the other players are feeding off that.”
Keosha Hardaway added 19 for the Wildcats and Jhanice Stokes scored nine. Jassmine Coach led North Augusta with 15.
North Augusta (40): Dicks 2, Houston 3, Coach 15, Sanders 3, Stone 6, Matthews 2, Wilson 9.
West Ashley (68): Cohen 33, Wesolek 2, Stokes 9, Hardaway 19, McLemore 5.
North Augusta 12 9 6 13—40
West Ashley 13 16 21 18—68