CLEMSON -- And just like that, South Pointe's dream season was over.
Dorman took away what South Pointe does best -- run the court in its transition game -- and held on for a 55-45 win in the girls Class AAAA Upper State championship game on Friday at Littlejohn Coliseum.
It was more of the old and less of the new. Dorman won the Upper State for the sixth straight year and is headed back to Columbia next Friday for another meeting with two-time state champion Lower Richland.
South Pointe, in its second season of varsity basketball, will have to wait for another shot at the state title. The Lady Stallions, No. 2 in Class AAAA, ended up 26-3.
"Dorman did a good job stopping our running game,'' said South Pointe coach Brett Childers, in his first season. "We had a little spell in the third quarter that ended up being the difference.''
Oh, yes. The dreaded third quarter.
South Pointe had only one turnover in the first half, that coming with 1:31 left before halftime. The Lady Stallions turned the ball over six times in the third quarter and were victimized by one of the Lady Cavaliers' trademark runs.
Dorman's 6-foot-3 center, Ashlen Dewart, started the half with a putback, followed by a transition layup from Fanchon Sartor.
South Pointe got on the board with a Chelsea Douglas layup, but the roof started to cave in. Dorman ran off eight straight points, five by Allison Karabinos, and opened a 37-27 lead.
South Pointe could have folded at that juncture, but kept chipping away. Dorman led 48-38 with 3:57 left to play when the Lady Stallions made their stampede.
They finally got going and rattled off seven straight points that cut Dorman's lead to 48-45. Center Tianna Hemphill, who led her team with 15 points, had four in the run, Douglas hit a pair of free throws and De'Brea Barber added a point from the stripe.
"I felt like we finally got our running game going, but it was too late,'' Douglas said. "Our problem was some of our better shots weren't falling.
"I'm one of our captains, and it hurt to lose after all we've done this season. But I'm going back into the locker room and tell my teammates to hold their heads high.''
The score might as well have been 0-0 at halftime because the teams went into the break knowing they were starting from scratch after the break with the game even at 25-all.
It could have been different if either had grabbed a slice of momentum in the first half. It was just the opposite. The first 16 minutes were like a game of leapfrog -- you jump over my back and I'll jump over yours. It couldn't have been more even.
Dorman controlled the tempo, slowed the game down to a half-court battle. The Lady Cavaliers did most of their damage inside, with Dewart scoring 12 points.
"We had two plans going in,'' Dewart said. "We wanted to work the ball inside and we wanted to stop South Pointe from running.
"This was a big win for us. Coach Joy Couch took another job and coach (Kristy) Ray came in. A lot of people doubted us and we didn't get the support we deserved. But we're back in the championship game and we plan to bring it.''
South Pointe tried to push the ball, but Dorman was quick to get back on defense and for the better part of the first half forced the Lady Stallions to swing the ball before taking a shot.
"We wanted to shorten the floor on defense, and our girls did what we asked,'' Ray said. "There has been a lot of pressure on this team all season, and all of us felt it.
"I had faith in our team. I told them that they could accomplish anything they wanted if they just went out and played. We worked two days on stopping South Pointe's running game and went out and executed like we did at practice.''
Although the half-court game is not South Pointe's cup of tea, it was patient and took high-percentage shots. Hemphill had nine points, Douglas eight and Ashawna Bost seven in the first half. The other point was a Shanada Adams' free throw.
Dorman's LaShana Booker nailed a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter and gave the Lady Cavaliers a 15-13 lead.
Late in the half, South Pointe got a fast-break basket from Douglas and had a 24-20 lead with 1:29 remaining until the break. Dorman outscored the Lady Stallions 5-1 the rest of the way, the final two points coming on a short Dewart jumper that knotted the score at 25.
"I can't complain after the season we had,'' Childers said. "I couldn't be more prouder of a group of girls. The busted their tails and built a tradition that hopefully will last a long time at South Pointe.''Dorman South Pointe