Friends, family say SeaWorld trainer was living her dream

Dawn Brancheau, a whale trainer at SeaWorld, shown performing on Dec. 30, 2005, was killed in an accident Wednesday with a killer whale at the SeaWorld Shamu Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

Julie Fletcher

Jeff Whittle completed his fourth season as the First Baptist boys coach, and he and the Hurricanes have four state titles to show for their efforts.

The Hurricanes beat Spartanburg Christian, 75-66, in the SCISA Class AA championship game in Sumter on Saturday, also marking the fourth consecutive year the Hurricanes beat Spartanburg Christian in the state basketball final.

Senior Nate Jenkins scored 28 points and junior Bradford Allen added 15 for the Hurricanes (24-9). Sophomore Shaquille Richardson added 13 points.

"It was a very competitive game because the two teams know each other so well," said Whittle. "We played our best basketball of the season in the playoffs. I think we peaked at the right time."

First Baptist opened up a 20-point lead in the third quarter before withstanding a fourth-quarter rally and sealed the victory with free throws down the stretch.

"Nate had a great game on both ends of the floor," said Whittle. "He was great on defense and hit some big shots when we needed them."

Jenkins closes out an outstanding career with four championship rings and is one of four seniors on the roster this season. The other seniors are Landon Blakey, Michael Bocklet and Greg Gilliam. Blakey also played on all four of the title teams.

"Our seniors were out- standing leaders and were a major reason why we played so well in the playoffs," said Whittle.