Newberry Knocks Off Lady Griffins

Tahalier Collier (4) runs into a stingy Newberry defense. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

WINNSBORO (Feb. 21, 2017) – The Fairfield Central girls hoped to keep control of the basketball against Newberry Monday night.

That hope was dashed within 90 seconds of play at the Fairfield Central gym, when four turnovers led to a 9-0 deficit.

“I knew if we could cut down our turnovers, then we could have a chance,” Griffins head coach Amelia Miller said. “But we couldn’t cut down on them.”

Instead, the Bulldogs forced 15 turnovers in the first quarter, jumped out to a 30-2 lead by the midway point of the second quarter, and closed out a 64-35 victory to head to the upper state championship game for the fourth straight year.

Newberry (23-4) plays Seneca for the upper state championship Saturday at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville. Seneca beat Emerald 77-69 Monday night.

Four of the Newberry’s five starters ended up in double figures. Kelsey Felks had 15 points, Rehgan Miller 14, Zacharia Epps 13 and Rayanna Davis 10. Felks also had 10 rebounds.

“We set goals for ourselves every game,” Newberry head coach Melissa Mendenhall said. “Our goal is to try to score so many points each quarter. It fluctuates depending on the game.”

Epps opened the scoring with a basket and a 3-pointer, Davis hit one of two foul shots and Miller drained the first of her four 3-pointers. The Griffins took their first timeout a minute and 34 seconds into the game, when Newberry was up 9-0 on four Fairfield Central turnovers.

Newberry, which reached the 2A upper state final three years prior before heading to Greenville this weekend as a 3A team, led 42-12 at the half.

The Bulldogs had beaten the Griffins twice in the regular season, 60-34 Dec. 16 and 69-29 Jan. 21. But with Fairfield Central (10-13) coming off a strong showing in a 54-28 whipping of Southside Thursday, Miller said she felt the Griffins were playing the strongest ball of the year.

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs’ lineup proved stronger.

“They’re an elite team, they’ve got great players. I wish them the best,” Miller said of Newberry. “We didn’t quit though. We made some mistakes along the way, but we didn’t quit, not one time.”

Jameria Sampson led the Griffins with 16 points. Cristin Gray had 10 rebounds.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” Miller said of the team. “Being that young, it’s extremely hard to take that (loss), but they took the punches, they rolled with it, they kept fighting, and I can’t ask for no more.”


Newberry 64, Fairfield Central 35

NHS: 22-20-18-4 – 64

FCHS: 2-10-12-11 – 35


Kelsey Felks 15, Rehgan Miller14, Zacharia Epps 13, Rayanna Davis 10, Davis 6, Havard 6.

Fairfield Central

Jamaria Simpson 16, Collier 7, Gray 6, Boyd 3, Woodard 2, Anderson 1.

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