McCORMICK --It wasn't a role neither senior Kelly Martin or junior Paige Moton were accustomed to.
The McCormick High duo combined for 31 points in a 66-40 victory against Greer Middle College Charter on Tuesday in the first round of the 1A girls basketball playoffs. The Chiefs (16-4) avenged last year's playoff loss to the same Blazers team, and now will host Ridge-Spring Monetta 7 p.m. Thursday in the second round.
Both Moton and Martin posted a playoff, if not career-high and led a quartet of Chiefs players who scored in double figures.
"This is my best game, point-blank, period," Martin said with a smile after finishing with a double-double. "This is my best regular season... In my mind today, this wasn't a playoff game, it was just another step we had to take to go farther."
Moton finished with 18 points while Martin added 13 and 11 rebounds. Zarhria Fuller contributed 12 and Destiny Edwards added 11.
"I guess its because of Mrs. Wideman," Martin said when asked about her success. "At practice and after practice she's always pushing and I knew that because they (Greer Middle College Charter) knew we got better players -- Zarhria, Destiny, Toniyah (Wideman), that I knew it was my turn to step up. So when they gave me the ball I knew I had no choice but to put the team on my back, and that was my only choice."
McCormick used a 7-0 and then a 10-0 run to get out to an early 19-9 first quarter advantage. An 8-0 and 9-0 run helped the Chiefs build a 36-17 halftime lead.
Moton connected with a 3-pointer while Martin dominated the paint with several put-back opportunities. Moton contributed nine of her total points in the second quarter alone. She connected on a second 3, then added six points on second-chance opportunities as she bullied her way into the paint for layups. Martin added five in the second after contributing six in the first quarter.
"I knew I had to win the game," Moton said. "I knew my team needed me and that's my strong point so I knew I had to dominate in the post area."
The Chiefs played man-to-man swarming defense which forced turnovers and led to transition buckets.
"We had to step up on the defense, and we did that for the most part," Coach Gena Wideman explained. "We played from quarter to quarter this time, which we have not done all season. And that was very impressive to me. I was very pleased with their motivation and determination to get done what they needed to get done."
Kilian Meilinger had a game-high 26 points, including knocking down eight 3s for the Blazers. Once Greer Middle College fell behind in the first half, it was hard to cut into the deficit as they hovered around the 15-point mark for most of the second half. The Blazers had their best quarters 11 and 12 respectively in the second half, but never managed to outscore McCormick each time.
Follow Michael Christopher on Twitter @IJMCHRISTOPHER
Greer Middle College Charter (40)
Kilian Meilinger 26, Bri Stenhouse 2, Jamie Kemp 3, Karen Stegall 7, Megan Miller 2.
Jordan Brown 2, TyLasha Creswell 3, Toniyah Wideman 7, Destiny Edwards 11, Zarhria Fuller 12, Paige Moton 18, Kelly Martin 13.
GMC 9 8 11 12 -- 40
McC 19 17 16 14 -- 66
3-pointers-- GMC 9, (Kilian Meillinger 8, Jamie Kemp 1), McCormick 4 (Destiny Edwards 2, Paige Moton 2).
Record: Greer Middle College (11-15), McCormick (16-4)