By CT McDonald
Dutch Fork and Irmo varsity boys basketball teams took their campaigns to the semifinals before closing out their seasons.
After their quarterfinal win over Sumter, the Silver Foxes faced Fort Dorchester in the 5A lower state semifinal round at the Florence Center, and it was close.
Dutch Fork trailed the Patriots 34-28 going into the fourth quarter, but then the Foxes outscored Fort Dorchester 14-8 in the final period to take the game into overtime in a 42-42 tie.
Both teams, combined, scored only 11 points in overtime, but the Patriots (25-1) scored seven of them, and the Silver Foxes scored four to end their season just one game short of the state finals at 49-46.
The Dutch Fork boys completed the season at 15-12 overall and 7-1 in Region 5-5A with the region title.
Irmo almost made another appearance in the state finals. After the varsity boys defeated Travelers Rest in their quarterfinal round, they were set to take on a familiar region opponent in the 4A upper state title game at Bob Jones University (BJU) on Tuesday.
The Yellow Jackets faced A. C. Flora for the third time this season — this time in the semifinals — and, after taking first place in Region 4-4A with Flora just behind.
This was a close one, too. Irmo trailed by three points at halftime, but rallied in the third quarter to lead by two going into the final period. But then the Yellow Jackets found the baskets hard to come by while the Falcons put up 10 points to win it 43-37.
Irmo completed the season in the semifinals at 23-4 with the Region 4-4A championship.