COLUMBIA — The Rock Hill girls were knocked on their heels early, recovered their footing and then slipped again.
When the Bearcats looked up, Spring Valley had galloped into the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
Rock Hill was routed 72-30 by the Vikings on Tuesday, ending the Bearcats’ season at 11-12. While there is a lot of youth to build on in the future, Rock Hill was disappointed that it fought so hard to get back into the game after an early setback, and then fell short.
“We got rushed,” Rock Hill coach Keenan Orr said. “We let them dictate the pace. We started forcing a lot of things. I thought we handled their press pretty well, but we didn’t capitalize.”
Spring Valley (20-4) went to the press from the opening tip, forcing five first-quarter turnovers and turning most of them into points. Rock Hill blinked and was trailing 26-6 – with 28 minutes to play.
With Kia Walls providing a spark of energy off the bench and more emphasis on handling the press and finding the open passing lanes, the Bearcats clawed back into the game. Rock Hill got to within 16 before LaTisha Smith hit a 3-pointer, yet the Bearcats wouldn’t give up.
Trailing 35-19 at halftime, the Bearcats came out ready for the second half. The only problem was, Spring Valley had just received an earful in the locker room for only scoring nine points in the second quarter.
The Vikings’ half-court defense paid off with four steals turned into breakaway layups within five possessions and the game was suddenly out of hand. Rock Hill tried to get a few 3-pointers to fall to no avail, and by the time Spring Valley cleared its bench with five minutes to go, it was too late for a comeback.
Asia Potts led the Bearcats with 12 points. Shaunte Young fouled out with six points.
“We had freshmen and sophomores on the floor at the end,” Orr said. “We’re losing some big pieces, but we’ll keep working. I’m proud.”
The Vikings will host the Woodmon/Wade Hampton winner in the second round of the playoffs on Friday.
Spring Valley 72, Rock Hill 30
Rock Hill – ZeKiya Knox 2, Anita Jones 2, Asia Potts 12, Shaunte Young 6, Chelsea Dorsey 5, Whitney Simpson 3
Spring Valley – Akia Dunlap 21, Keisha Greene 1, LaTisha Smith 9, Joi Jones 2, Cierra Carter 14, Megan Davis 8, Dominique Hill 2, Shauntay Taylor 2, Briana Hill 9, Brittany Taylor 2, Raven Fleming 2
3-pointers – Rock Hill 2 (Dorsey, Potts), Spring Valley 3 (Smith 2, B. Hill). Team fouls ‹ Rock Hill 15, Spring Valley 10
Fouled out – Young (RH)
Records: Rock Hill 11-12; Spring Valley 20-4