5A Girls: Conway, Socastee win to meet in third round

socghoops-12The Class 5A girls basketball playoffs will feature an unlikely matchup of local teams thanks to a pair of big wins on Friday night.

Top-seeded Conway held off Dutch Fork 54-45 to advance to the third round, their deepest postseason trip in program history. The Lady Tigers will host fourth-seeded Region 6-5A rival Socastee, which upset No. 1 seed Spring Valley 50-47.

The Lady Braves (13-12), who narrowly made the playoffs after going 5-5 in region play, shocked a higher seed on the road for the second straight game to make a surprising run to the third round. Socastee built an eight-point halftime lead before Spring Valley rallied to tie it up late. But the Lady Braves, led by Shayla Baldwin’s game-high 25 points, held it together to pull off another upset.

Conway had an easier time with Dutch Fork, erasing an early deficit and pulling away for good in the second half behind Neci Hemingway’s game-high 26 points. The Lady Tigers (16-6) swept the season series with Socastee, winning both by double digits, en route to an undefeated region record and their first league title since 1983. The two teams will meet for the third time this season on Monday.

* Irmo 57, Carolina Forest 47: The Lady Panthers narrowly missed out on a chance to make it three teams from Region 6-5A in the Lower State semifinals after falling on the road in the second round.

Irmo broke open a tight game late to end Carolina Forest’s season. Ellen Nardella hit six 3-pointers to lead the Lady Panthers with 24 points. Alexis Tomlin tallied 11 and Cheyenne Pyles chipped in nine.

Carolina Forest returns every player on its roster next season.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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