Lakewood entered Myrtle Beach’s gym having dropped at least 60 points eight times this year.
The Gators, led by junior Sonora Dongokl, had reached that figure in each of the last three games. But after a few minutes Saturday night, it was clear the state’s ninth-ranked team wasn’t going to come anywhere close.
Myrtle Beach forced Lakewood’s top player into early foul trouble and then controlled both ends of the court en route to a 48-29 win in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs.
“That was our game plan – we wanted to get one of them out of the game,” coach Jennifer Dennison said, referring to Dongokl and guard Kamryn Lemon. “[Dongokl], she’s a great player. That got them out of their game.”
Dongokl was called for her second foul with 3 minutes left in the first quarter. She spent much of the first half on the bench and then had no choice but to play conservatively on defense. She had just four points in the game, about 13 below her season average.
Myrtle Beach took advantage of the opportunity, especially inside.
Forward Mia Pressley finished with 17 points and six rebounds and Kiana Adderton had 10 points and 18 boards.
Lakewood players walked into the gym for the first time about 5 minutes prior to the scheduled 6 p.m. tip-off. The start was delayed 20 minutes. After about another 20 minutes or so, Myrtle Beach had started to build a comfortable lead and moved on to the next round.
There won’t be much celebrating for the Seahawks, though. Dennison’s team advanced to face Orangeburg-Wilkinson at home on Tuesday. The Bruinettes are the defending Class AAA Lower State champion and did the same the previous season in Class AAAA before moving down.
Orangeburg-Wilkinson has been ranked No. 1 this season since Jan. 8 and has six players on its roster measuring 6 feet or taller. So while Myrtle Beach had a noticeable size advantage against Lakewood, it will be anything but next time out.
“We work at this every day in practice,” Pressley said. “We knew we could get there. … We’ve got to prepare for them.”
Orangeburg-Wilkinson, which finished in third place in the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational in December, defeated Hartsville 74-32 on Saturday.
“Orangeburg has all the height in the world,” Dennison said. “But we’re not going to worry about intimidation.”
• LAKEWOOD (29) – Gabby Myers 1, Deja Richardson 5, Kamryn Lemon 5, Sonora Dengokl 4, Shalexia Pack 5, Shanekia Jackson 9,
• MYRTLE BEACH (48) – Ivy Collins 1, Keocia Walker 7, Kyerra Adderton 5, Nia Sumpter 5, Nakia Black 3, Mia Pressley 17, Kiana Adderton 10.
3-point goals: Lakewood 3 (Shanekia Jackson, Deja Richardson, Shalexia Pack); Myrtle Beach 2 (Keocia Walker, Nia Sumpter, Kyerra Adderton). Team fouls: L: 13; MB: 9. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Lakewood 16-8; Myrtle Beach 15-10.
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