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East Clarendon girls earn 1A state title with dominate performance

The East Clarendon girls’ basketball team played Timmonsville High school Sat. March 3 at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia for the 1A Girls Basketball State Championship. This was the first girls’ basketball state championship title appearance in over 40 years. At the opening tip, East Clarendon’s Talaysia Cooper grabbed the ball, passed it to Gracen Watts who sank the bucket and scored the first points of the contest. After a Timmonsville turnover, Watts added 3 from long range and East Clarendon continued to pour on the points. Before the first quarter was over, East Clarendon had scored 21 unanswered points and Timmonsville was left wondering what had happened. The East Clarendon girls were not going to take this team lightly but they never expected to be up 23-1, which came from a free throw by Timmonsville’s Makyla Commander at the end of the first quarter. Coach Mike Lowder said, “Ladies, you have a chance to something that no other team has done. They took that and ran with it.” With a significant lead, East Clarendon kept the pressure on as they slowed down their offense and dropped into a zone defense. Each East Clarendon defender stayed disciplined and kept to their defensive positions which forced the smaller Timmonsville team to make bad passes and poor shot decisions. As the first half came to an end, East Clarendon led 33-11 and was 2 quarters away from victory, taking the State Championship Trophy to Turbeville.

As the second half got underway, Timmonsville scored 7 points but Coach Lowder called a time out to ice the Whirlswinds push. The East Clarendon girls were not about to let Timmonsville gain momentum, on offense or defense. During the third quarter, Talaysia Cooper dove into a table to help East Clarendon maintain possession. East Clarendon continued to hustle and play hard no matter the score. They kept Timmonsville off balance. The disciplined Wolverines kept their heads on a swivel and their hands in the faces of the Timmonsville players. Britni Anderson kept the Timmonsville girls out of the paint, which forced more poor shots and passes. She blocked three shots. The Wolverines finished the night with 12 steals and six blocks. Talaysia Cooper finished the night with 18 tpoints. Caitlin Timmons had 10 points and Gracen Watts added 13 for the Wolverines. As the game ended, Coach Mike Lowder walked onto court and pointed to the fans from Turbeville. Lowder said, “I was just saying thank you. We had a sendoff in downtown Turbeville and I’ve never been a part of anything like that.” Lowder ended by saying, “I am so proud of these girls and the hard work they put in all year. Even the girls that didn’t get to play much understood what we trying to do.” The East Clarendon Wolverines will never forget their road to the state championship game and the 55-31 victory over Timmonsville to become the 1A Girls Basketball State Champions.


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