In perhaps its most complete performance of the season, the Goose Creek girls basketball team rolled into the Class AAAAA Lower State finals with a 59-36 win over Fort Dorchester on Monday night.
Goose Creek, the top-ranked team in Class AAAAA, had no trouble with the Region 8 champions, improving to 21-1 on the season. Fort Dorchester ended its season at 22-3, with two of its three losses to Goose Creek.
The Gators led from start to finish, using great man-to-man defense, a dominant performance on the boards and a balanced offensive effort. Even coach Tim Baldwin was impressed.
“That was fun to watch,” said Baldwin, who recorded his 400th career win two weeks ago. “For a team that plays fast all the time, to be able to slow down and be patient and let things develop, it was fun to watch. We executed the game plan (on both ends). We didn’t let them get on a run, and we were patient on offense.”
Three players reached double figures in scoring for Goose Creek, led by guard Ciera Shivers with 14 points. Guard Aniyah Oliver and forward Jasmine Stanley each scored 11 points, while senior forward Shayla Nelson added nine and was part of the successful effort on the boards.
Auzhane Allard paced Fort Dorchester with 17 points.
Goose Creek led 15-5 at the end of the first quarter and was comfortably ahead 28-9 at halftime. The game was essentially put on lockdown early in the third when the Gators moved out to a 37-11 advantage in the first three minutes of the third period.
Goose Creek lost in the Class AAAAA Lower State finals a year ago, and Baldwin said this team is anxious to make amends Saturday. Goose Creek will face Lexington at 5 p.m. in the Florence Civic Center.
“It will be a good game,” Baldwin said. “These kids know and remember what happened last year. And we keep reminding them. We’re ready for the opportunity.”
Lady Bishops advance to AAA Lower State finals
The Bishop England girls basketball team also reached the Lower State finals with a 57-27 win over Swansea on Monday night. The Bishops (26-1) will face Dillon on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Florence Civic Center.
Kelly Drummond had 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Katie Cullum had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Katie Brooks also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 boards. Guard Josie Dennis added 11 points.
In other playoff action on Monday night, Palmetto Christian’s girls lost to Spartanburg Christian 64-62 in the SCISA Class AA state playoffs. PCA held a 19-point lead during the game before losing on a last-second shot.
PCA (14-10) was led by Lauren Pernell’s 14 points and 15 rebounds. Katelyn Howard scored 22 points for the Eagles, who were outscored 28-14 in the final period.
Cathedral Academy advanced to the SCISA Class A semifinals with a 44-34 win over Curtis Baptist. Cathedral will play Laurens Academy on Thursday in Sumter.
Dorchester Academy also advanced to the SCISA Class A semifinals with a 58-34 win over Newberry Academy. The Raiders will play Beaufort Academy on Thursday night in Sumter.
Woodland’s girls lost to Mullins 65-56 in the SCHSL Class AA Lower State semifinals, while James Island saw its best season in years end with a 67-50 loss to Lexington in the Class AAAAA Lower State semis.