High School Sports

Bluffton tops South Aiken, advances in 4-A volleyball playoffs

The momentum Tuesday night at Bluffton High School had definitely turned in South Aiken's favor.

After the Bobcats took a long first set, 29-27, the Thoroughbreds took the next two, 25-20 and 25-19, and there was little indication the Bobcats would reverse the trend.

But reverse it they did. Bluffton (40-14-5) took the final two sets 25-19 and 15-0 to claim a 3-2 win in the second round of the Class 4-A Lower State volleyball playoffs.

"My girls struggled in the second and third games," Bluffton head coach Tina Franklin said. "They weren't playing to win, they were playing not to lose.

"They weren't putting the ball away. They weren't placing the ball."

Franklin blamed the struggles on nerves. The girls didn't want to make an error.

The first-year head coach said it wasn't something she said that got the Bobcats on the right track. Instead, she said, the team captains gathered the girls themselves at the end of the bench and talked through their problems.

Franklin said that sort of thing doesn't happen often, but it has happened before.

"This is really a great group of girls," Franklin said. "They know how important this is to one another, not just to one player."

Cameron Dean led the Bobcats with 17 kills. Lanitra Ferguson had 10 kills and Shadaisha Altacho added nine.

Franklin said the passing of Lizzie Rhoads and Annie Franklin was excellent.

"I'm just so proud of my girls," Franklin said.

Bluffton will host White Knoll, a winner on the road at Socastee, at 6 p.m. Thursday.