The Class AA girls playoff game featuring Barnwell vs. Philip Simmons served up plenty of suspense Friday night.
It also featured some heroic moments by the Iron Horses in the game's final 8 minutes, especially from Kennedy Rivers.
That sizzling scenario produced a 66-65 Iron Horse homecourt victory in the first-round of the 16-team playoff field.
Barnwell traveled to Philip Simmons seeking to spring the upset as the Warhorses built a 45-33 lead after three quarters. But that’s when Rivers and Co. went to work. Rivers poured in 19 of her game-high 36 points in the final stanza as the Iron Horses survived and advanced.
“We just kind of clicked,” said Philip Simmons coach Dustin Williams, whose team won a first-round game for the third consecutive year. “Kennedy started going to the basket. She had 19 in the fourth. I told her it was ‘do or die time’ and she got the job done. Not only her, the entire team stepped up. We played outstanding defense and caused turnovers that allowed us to get back the game.”
The Iron Horses improved to 6-1 and were scheduled to host Marion on Wednesday. Marion advanced with a 63-20 victory over York Prep. Barnwell exited the playoffs with a 5-2 record.
Rivers scored 10 points in the first period, but was held in check with a combined seven points in the second and third quarters. Rivers was lights out with the game on the line, hitting four 3-pointers in the decisive final period.
Kylee Kellermann also had a big effort in the final period, scoring 11 of her 17 points. She hit a pair of 3s, while converting three-of-four from the foul line. Kellermann’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with about 20 seconds left in the game was the difference.
“Kylee and Kennedy are captains for a reason,” Williams said of his super sophomores. “They are the leaders of this team and set a great example. They really got the job done in the fourth quarter. It was a crazy fourth quarter. We hit something like seven 3s alone to get to within striking distance.”
The Iron Horse boys also qualified for the playoffs after winning the Region 6-AA tournament to decide the league’s No. 2 seed for the playoffs. The Iron Horses defeated Lake Marion 68-37 and edged Timberland 54-51.
The Iron Horses traveled to Wade Hampton Monday night for a first-round game. But the team came up short as the Red Devils posted a 63-49 victory. Wade Hampton upped its record to 8-2, while Philip Simmons closed with a 6-3 mark.