For the second consecutive year, Irmo had the answer to Wando’s offense early in the postseason.
Irmo held Wando to its second-fewest points of the season Tuesday to earn a 49-36 win in the opening round of the Class AAAA girls state playoffs.
Wando entered the game averaging 60.1 points per game but unraveled with turnovers while its usually effective transition game stalled against a stronger, more physical Irmo team.
“Our kids knew what to do,” Irmo head coach Monica Williams said. “We’re used to playing against transition offense. Our game plan was to slow the tempo down. We changed from our man defense to a half-court trap tonight and I think it bothered them.”
Irmo built a lead as large as eight with just under 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Wando pulled within 40-36, with 2½ minutes remaining but was shut out the rest of the way, committing turnovers on six of its final eight possessions.
“The physicality of the game started getting to our head a little bit late,” Wando head coach Jeff Emory said. “It wears on you. We were hoping to run with them. But we never got our transition going because of their physicality. They ended up wearing us down.”
Wando held a one-point lead just over 2 minutes into the second half but momentarily lost composure following an Irmo layup and was hit with a technical foul. The swing proved costly as Irmo ripped off a 10-2 stretch over the next 4 minutes. Wando would never regain the lead.
“After that technical, I thought we got some momentum on offense,” Willams said, “The kids executed the game plan. We ran some plays and were able to take advantage of it”
Taiylar Demoss powered Irmo with 19 of her game-high 26 points in the second half. Sam Fant added 12 points, including four free throws to seal the game late.
Clare McTighe led Wando with 13 points and was the only Warrior to score in all four quarters.
It’s the second straight year Irmo has eliminated Wando from the postseason. Last year, Wando entered averaging 54 points per game and was held to just 34 in a second-round loss. Irmo went on to play for the Lower State title.
The No. 3 seeded Yellowjackets advance to face No. 1 seed Sumter in the second round Friday.