Lady Griffins Bounced in Heartbreaker

Down 8-5 at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Griffins of Fairfield Central came roaring back in the second to take a 17-12 lead over the Lady Braves at Cheraw Friday night. But it was the hometown Lady Braves who made the last great comeback, ousting Fairfield Central from the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs 40-38 in a physical slugfest.

The Lady Braves held Fairfield scoreless for the first four and a half minutes of the game, beating the Lady Griffins on the boards and limiting Fairfield to one-shot possessions. Raven Rivers came off the bench for the Lady Griffins, proving a spark to their otherwise sluggish offense and putting their first points on the board. Jada Martin later tied the game at 3 from the foul line with 2:09 to go in the quarter.

Christian Thompson, who struggle to find the basket all night, put Fairfield up 10-8 with a 3-pointer at the 6:34 mark in the second, sending the Lady Griffins on a 10-point run that lasted until the 1:28 point when Cheraw’s Danesha McCray finished on a fast break. The Lady Braves added one more bucket before the buzzer, cutting the Fairfield lead to 17-12 at the half.

Chyna Moore nailed a 3-pointer to kick off the third quarter, and the Lady Griffins’ run continued, with their defense keeping Cheraw at bay, forcing turnovers and limiting the Lady Braves to single-shot possessions. With 5 minutes to play in the third, the Lady Griffins held a commanding 22-12 lead and appeared to have punched their ticket into the third round. But Cheraw’s Alexis Ford trickled in a layup 30 seconds later, opening the flood gates on a run that would close the gap to 25-21.

The Lady Braves tied the game at 25 with 6:52 to go in the final chapter on a layup by Alexis Pitts. Pitts drew the foul on the shot and completed the 3-point play the old fashioned way to knot the contest. The Lady Griffins then began to come unraveled, taking poor stabs at the basket and losing the handle on the ball in transition. The Cheraw full-court press stymied Fairfield, who were held scoreless until Martin went to the foul line with 5:11 to play. Martin hit the front end of the bonus, cutting the Lady Braves advantage to 30-26. Rivers sank a 3 to cut the deficit to 31-29 with 4:36 remaining, but Cheraw held steady, up 35-29 with 3:18 to go. Martin, the traditional leading scorer for Fairfield, fouled out of the game with 2:53 to play and the Griffins down 37-29.

The Fairfield defense came alive in the closing minutes, converting back-to-back steals by Thompson and Tanise Davis into points, making it a 1-point game, 37-36, with 1:23 to play.

Yet it was the last surge the Lady Griffins could muster, as Cheraw capitalized on late Griffin turnovers and iced the game at the line.

FC—Christian Thompson: 5, Chyna Moore: 3, Chelsea Seibles: 4, Jada Martin: 6, Tiea Quanna Pearson: 2, Raven Rivers: 13, Tanise Davis: 5.

CH—Alicia McIver: 10, Alexis Pitts: 11, Alexis Ford: 2, Daneesha McCray: 6, Crystal Owens: 7, Tajee Turner: 4.