Keith Gedamke / The Item
Sumter High’s Robin Covington, right, sends the game into overtime with a shot at the buzzer in front of Dutch Fork’s Deidra Jones. Sumter fell in double-overtime 68-49.
By DENNIS BRUNSON
Item Sports Editor
Hitting free throws and rebounding.
Those are two things that Sumter High School varsity girls head basketball coach Jeff Schaffer calls basics of the game. And he said the Lady Gamecocks' inability to execute in those areas cost them in their 68-49 double-overtime loss to undefeated Dutch Fork Tuesday at the SHS gymnasium.
Sumter, which fell to 12-3 on the season, was just 8-for-17 from the free throw line and missed their final seven spanning the fourth quarter and the overtime sessions. Sumter also struggled rebounding against the taller Lady Silver Foxes, who improved to 12-0.
"Until you start performing the basics consistently, you're not going to win the close games, and that's what happened to us tonight," Schaffer said. "We were not disciplined enough in the first half in setting up our offense, and then we didn't hit our free throws or rebound well down the stretch."
The Lady Gamecocks, who lost to Dutch Fork 56-42 earlier this season, trailed 26-18 at halftime on Tuesday. After the Lady Foxes opened a 31-21 advantage early in the third quarter, SHS managed to narrow the lead to 35-31 after three quarters.
Sumter pulled within 37-35 on two free throws — its last two of the game — and a followup by Lillian McGill. After a Dutch Fork basket, McGill missed two free throws and Whitney Ouzts hit a jump shot to push the Lady Foxes' lead to 41-35.
McGill answered with a nice spin move for a layup to cut the lead back to four. Frances Fields missed the front end of a one-and-one, but SHS got the rebound and Fields hit a layup to make it 41-39 with 3:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Ouzts hit another jumper to make it 43-39, before McGill banked in a shot to cut the lead to 43-41 with 2:10 to go. Dutch Fork held on to the ball until Sumter forced a turnover with 1:22 left. The Lady Gamecocks finally tied the game at 43-43 on a jumper by Fields with 48 seconds to go.
Sumter forced another turnover and Robin Covington was fouled with 17 seconds to go. Shooting the double bonus, Covington missed both. Dutch Fork grabbed the rebound and threw an outlet pass to Chelsey Peterson for a layup with 10 seconds left. Sumter went without a timeout and Covington hit a driving layup at the buzzer to force overtime.
Sumter took its first lead of the second half on a reverse layup by Fields that made it 47-46. The Lady Gamecocks missed a chance to expand the lead when Jasmine Alston missed two free throws with 2:55 to go. Peterson, who led Dutch Fork with 20 points, responded with a 3-point play to make it 49-47 with 2:45 left.
SHS tied the game at 49 with 1:20 left and got the ball back when it forced a 5-seconds call on the Lady Foxes. The Lady Gamecocks held for one shot with Fields' shot hitting off the rim.
Sumter could get nothing going in the second overtime, and Dutch Fork scored its final six points in the last 17 seconds.
"I wasn't pleased with our shot selection in the second overtime," Schaffer said. "I think we rushed some shots a bit. Up until that point though, I thought we did a good job of running our offense in the second half."
McGill, who had just four points in the first game, finished with 17. Fields had 15.
Deidra Jones had 16 for Dutch Fork, while Erica Crumlin had 14 and Ouzts 13.
Dutch Fork head coach Anne Long wasn't surprised her team had a tougher time on Tuesday.
"Jeff does a good job with their team," said Long, whose squad beat Sumter in the 4A lower state championship game last season. "We did well in spots, but we had a couple of tough turnovers and mistakes that hurt us. But that comes back to Sumter."