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East Clarendon Dominates Timmonsville 55 -35 To Win First Ever Girl’s Class A Basketball Championship

Columbia--Led by one of the nation’s top 8th grade players Talaysia Cooper, who  scored 18 points, and motivated by the senior leadership of guards Caitlin Timmons and Gracen Watts, East Clarendon (19-5) dominated Timmonsville 55-35 to earn the school’s first Class A girl’s state basketball title ever.

East Clarendon head coach Mike Lowder won three SCISA state titles at Wilson Hall and he was all-smiles from the court after this huge win. “We got here early this morning 15 minutes before they opened the building and the girls told me when they were getting on the bus at the motel that they were loose, confident and ready to play,” said Coach Lowder. “Getting off to that big first quarter lead was huge for us. I am very proud of everyone today and even the fans did a great job today cheering us on.”

   Lowder said he gets everyday so thankful to have a job at East Clarendon. “I get up everyday thanking God for East Clarendon giving me the opportunity to coach this team. I do not work at the school and they hired me anyway so I am thankful for the opportunity.”

Coach Lowder said he was pleased to see Watts start off on fire in the first period with seven points. “Gracen took last years lost to Green Sea Floyds really hard and it was great to see her come out here today and get our offense started and over the past five games she has had very few turnovers.

“Cooper was just Cooper today and when folks find out she is just an 8th grader they almost can’t believe it,” said Coach Lowder. “She has four more years with us and I am sure she would like to win four more championships. She’s a special player with special talent.”

Coach Lowder was also high on the play of Timmons and top rebounder Garris. “They both had outstanding games today and we will miss the leadership of Timmons,” said Coach Lowder. “When you work as hard as we do it is always rewarding to see great things happen for them.”

After the game the HSSR talked with Cooper, Watts and Timmons and more of their   quotes will be featured in a special 8 page keepsake issue to be printed in late March. “I give all the credit to my teammates who supported me to today and they had my back the whole game,” said Cooper. “This state title today is a dream come true and I hope to win some more.”

Timmons and Watts sat on the bench in the waning minutes of the game crying pure tears of joy. “We just told each other that we had done it; that we were state champions and the feeling of the accomplishment was sinking in,” said Timmons. “It was over-whelming actually.”

Watts added, “We practiced until 5:30 yesterday and it was a hard practice and we came into the game ready and confident to play,” she said. “This was our goal all season. This was what all the hard work was about.”  

The Lady Wolverines sprinted out to an unprecedented 23-1 first quarter lead as they opened the game on 60 per cent shooting from the floor and appeared to be the looser more confident team early on. They extended the lead to 33-11 by the break with Cooper leading the way with 16 points followed up by Watts with 9 and Timmons and Valincia Garris had four each.

The two teams battled on even terms in the second period when they both scored 10 points each. The Whirlwinds were led by sophomore Makyla Commander who had five points at the half and finished with 8 points.

In the second half East Clarendon continued  to play well out of their 1-3-1 match-up zone defense and they won the third period 14-8 to enter the final period with a commanding 47-19 lead. With the Wolverine’s large contingent of fans yelling “Put Shannon In”, in honor of the hard working senior reserve Shannon Scott, Coach Lowder emptied his bench at the three minute mark and the EC crowd roared when Scott barely missed a shot from 8 feet in front of the basket.

Beside’s Cooper’s 18 points she had four steals, three assists, and two blocked shots. Watts finished with 13 points and Timmons chipped with 10 along with a team leading five assists. Garris had 8 points and a team leading 10 rebounds.

Timmonsville was led by Commander and Alaina Thomas with 8 points each. Guard Kevionna Hudson contributed five points.

East Clarendon made 9 of 15 free throws and they out-rebounded Timmonsville 35-32. The Wolverines made 21 of 41 shots from the field compared to 10 of 49 shooting by Timmonsville.

Timmonsville head coach Perry Stokes just concluded his 37th season. “You have heard about the miracle on 10th Street, where this was the “Niightmare in the Colonial Center” in the first quarter,” said Coach Stokes. “Did they even miss a shot in the first quarter? They have certainly improved a lot since we played them least season and the Cooper girl is a nightmare match-up for any team.

“We have everyone back next season and hopefully East Clarendon will be going to AA,” said Coach Stokes. “This is the worse margin for a loss I have suffered in the 37 years I have coached. We thought it might happen but we were hoping that it didn’t. happen. They scored a lot of points in transition.

“We will work hard to get back here next year with everyone back and hopefully this game will serve as a reminder of what we need to do to get better for next season. I am proud of our effort today but we ran into a team really have one of the better games all season while we had one of our worse games all season.”

Scoring: (EC): Timmons 10, Anderson 2, Garris 8, Cooper 18, Whack 2, Floyd 2  Timmonsville: Echols 4, Commander 8, Thomas 8, Easterling 3, Hudson 5, Scott-rouse 3. 

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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