Goose Creek girls power past Blythewood

Rob Gantt/The Gazette Goose Creek's Shakayia Wilson goes up for a shot from the lane over Blythewood's Amari Lott in the first half.

The Goose Creek girls basketball team survived and advanced on Tuesday, but did it get any better?

Lady Gators basketball coach Tim Baldwin wasn’t sure in spite of his team winning 62-43 over Blythewood in the opening round of the Class AAAA playoffs.

After the rout, a 21-0 blitzkrieg over the first eight minutes was forgotten.

Baldwin remembered more the final 10 or so minutes when Blythewood sliced a 37-point deficit to under 20 in the last quarter.

“As a coach, you want to see everybody one through 14 play well,” said Baldwin, whose team hosts West Florence on Friday in the second round. “I was very disappointed in the group that finished the game. I don’t think they were focused or listened to the game plan we had established about taking certain things away ... Everybody has to perform at a high level no matter when you come into the game.”

Ericka Broughton had 12 points to lead the Lady Gators (19-6), who are ranked eighth in Class AAAA. Mariah Linney added 11 points and Zeleria Simpson nine.

Linney ignited the hot start with a pair of 3-point buckets and eighth-grader Shayla Nelson made a couple shots from the lane in the closing seconds of the first quarter as Goose Creek powered ahead 21-0.

Blythewood (7-14) scored in the opening seconds of the second period but never got closer than 16 points the rest of the way. Lauren Harley led the Lady Bengals with 16 points and Aubria Greene added 10 points.

West Florence also had it easy, hammering North Augusta 74-39 on Tuesday.

The fourth-ranked Lady Knights are 22-3 and finished second in Region 6-AAAA behind No. 1 Sumter.

“They’ve got a point guard committed to Wake Forest (Kortni Simmons), and Destinee Walker is one of the top players in South Carolina,” Baldwin said. “Friday night is going to be good basketball. If you want to see a good girls basketball game, there will be two very talented teams on the floor.”