Ashley Ridge girls add playoff victory to a season of firsts

(Roger Lee/Summerville Journal Scene) McKayla Landreth takes a free throw during Ashley Ridge's first-round playoff game with West Florence Tuesday.

The Ashley Ridge girls basketball team earned its first playoff victory Tuesday, defeating West Florence 71-39 in The Swamp.

The Swamp Foxes improved to 18-6, their best record since Ashley Ridge opened its doors for the 2008-09 school year. Ashley Ridge will host the winner of Tuesday’s Lexington-West Ashley game Friday at 7 p.m. in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.

“We are accepting the challenge of being a team that is achieving a lot of firsts around here, but like I’ve said all along, the girls are locked in and focused,” Ashley Ridge coach Tron Grant said. “They are at a point right now where their confidence is high and they feel they can handle anything that is put in front of them. We had a great team effort tonight so it was a great way to start the playoffs.”

Ashley Ridge showed it meant business early on. Just before the end of the opening period, Ashanti Caldwell hit a 3-point shot to give the Swamp Foxes a 22-8 lead entering the second period.

The team continued to go with the formula that earned it the No. 1 seed for Region 8-AAAA, a smothering defense and strong play in the paint. The Swamp Foxes held the visiting Knights to 6 points in the second quarter and 5 in the third before going to its bench early in the fourth quarter.

“We definitely weren’t out to belittle the other team; we just wanted to play at a high level because in the playoffs that is what you have to do,” Grant said. “The competition will increase as you go on so you have to play at that level. We were able to get some of the girls who aren’t accustomed to playing much in the game tonight so that is good.”

Sophomore guard Shamaria Myers led the way, scoring a game-high 26 points. Senior center McKayla Landreth added 17 points for Ashley Ridge and post player Kelly Cousins added 9.

Ashley Ridge also have some luck changing things up with some jump shots. Myers hit three shots from 3-point range. Taighlor Solomon hit two shots from beyond the arc and Obiny Drayton and Caldwell each sank a 3-point shot.

Alexis Jeffory led West Florence with 10 points.