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Lady Demons can't keep up with Spring Valley

Posted: January 19, 2011 1:48 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Faced with a dilemma which comes with the territory when playing Spring Valley, Lugoff-Elgin girls basketball coach Von Duncan was not ready to slow Tuesday’s contest against the guests to a crawl as did Blythewood in a 40-8 loss to the Lady Vikings last week.

At the same time, Duncan and the Lady Demons were not going to get the nation’s 14th ranked outfit into a drag race, either.

Playing at a controlled tempo, L-E suffered the same fate as have all 18 SV opponents this season as the Lady Demons were upended, 73-31, inside the Demons Den on Tuesday before a crowd which included University of Connecticut head women’s basketball coach and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Geno Auriemma.

The loss dropped the hostesses to 4-10 overall and 1-5 in Region 4-4A play. But the contest proved to Duncan and her girls that the 94-foot game is not their cup of tea.

“I wanted them to slow it down; running and gunning is not our game,” Duncan said of her team’s approach entering this contest.

“We have a team of good shooters and I told them that is what we have to rely on. I told them that team’s which run and gun are usually the ones who don’t have good outside shooters. That’s not our game. I want them to go out and do what we do.”

The trouble on this night was not L-E’s game plan, instead it was Anne Long’s defending 4A state champions, who hold down the number 14 slot in the last USA Today girls national high school rankings. Leading the charge for the Lady Vikings was 6-foot-1 junior center Xylina McDaniel, daughter of former NBAer Xavier McDaniel, who poured in a game-best 30 points.

Facing long odds and being out-sized across the board, the Lady Demons got off to a 2-0 lead when Quintella Alexander went inside for a putback in the game’s first minute to give the home side a 2-0 lead. Ten seconds later, McDaniel rolled in a basket to knot things while touching off what became a 26-0 SV run with 20 of those points coming in the opening stanza.

SV did its damage both from the inside and the outside with McDaniel scoring six first quarter points to back eight from 5-foot-11 junior guard Asia Dozier, including a pair of treys.

“Height usually scares us,” Duncan said of the discrepancy in size between the two teams. “I just told our girls that we had to play with heart, play with effort and motivation and play to our strengths. That’s, pretty much, what we went out there and did.”

L-E scored 10 second quarter points, getting five from junior guard Aneka Dixon and four from senior guard Nastassja Gibson, who led the Lady Demons with nine points. That was not enough to make much headway in a half which ended with SV using seven points from guard Shaquita Walker to carry a healthy 36-12 advantage into the locker room at intermission.

In spite of the large uphill climb, Duncan said she and her coaching staff kept emphasizing defense to their charges throughout the evening.

“We wanted to capitalize on our defense,” she said. “Lately, we’ve been playing good defense, but then, we’ll go down and run and gun and we use up all our energy on offense. Then, when we turn around, we have nothing left on defense.

“That’s something we’ve focused on. We told our girls that whoever they were guarding, try to hold them to the least amount of points possible.”

With long going to her bench early and often in the first half, McDaniel was “held” to eight points in the first 16 minutes. She more than made up for that with a 22-point second half showing.

L-E, meanwhile, received four points from Kristen Baker in a six-point third quarter. The Lady Demons would get six from Caressa Samuel, who came off the bench Tuesday, and five from Gibson to account for all but two of their 13 fourth quarter points.

Facing daunting odds, Duncan said this was a loss which her team could grow after squaring off against SV for the second time this season.

“It is a learning experience,” she said, “but I will say that we played Spring Valley a whole lot better here than we did when we went over there. You have to build upon those little things like that.”

SV (73): Xylina McDaniel 13 3-4 30, Asia Dozier 3 0-0 8, Savonia Bryan 2 0-0 4, Briana Robinson 2 0-0 4, Juliette Love 2 2-2 6, Shaquita Walker 4 1-2 9, Cierra Carter 3 2-2 8, Kelcee Dozier 0 1-2 1, Latisha Smith 1 0-0 3. Totals: 30 9-12 73

L-E (31): Quintella Alexander 1 0-0 2, Caressa Samuel 2 3-4 7, Natsassja Gibson 4 0-0 9, Aneka Dixon 2 0-0 5, Nakiesha Counts 1 0-0 2, Kirsten Baker 3 0-0 6. Totals: 13 3-4 31

Score by quarters: First: SV, 20-2; Halftime: SV, 36-12; Third: SV, 52-18; Three-point goals: SV 4 (A. Dozier 2, McDaniel, Smith), L-E 2 (Gibson, Dixon)

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