Blue Flame burn through Aiken in straight sets to win program’s 16th state title — and first since 2014


After capturing the Upper State crown and finishing with heartbreaking losses in the state championship four seasons in a row, the fifth time was the charm for the Pickens Lady Blue Flame volleyball team on Saturday, as they broke through to beat Aiken in straight sets in the Class 4A title game in Columbia to wrap up the program’s 16th state championship — and first since 2014. Just days after winning their fifth consecutive Upper State championship over Catawba Ridge, the Blue Flame dominated Aiken from the opening whistle on Saturday to capture the first state title of coach Rikki Owens’ five-year tenure. Above, the Pickens crowd goes wild as the Lady Blue Flame celebrate a point during Saturday’s championship match. To see more, turn to pages got to sports on this website.               Jessica Mackey/Courier