Flame to play for Upper State title today

Victory will put Lady Flame in

AAA State title game Saturday

PICKENS — The Pickens Blue Flame volleyball team has dominated in the first three rounds of the AAA State playoffs and is set to play for the Upper State title today. Pickens will host Chapin at 6 p.m., with the winner playing for the State title on Saturday.

If the Blue Flame take the victory over Chapin, they will travel to White Knoll High School in Columbia to battle the winner of the North Myrtle Beach/Airport game for the AAA State Championship. The title game will begin at 3:30 p.m on Saturday.

The Lady Flame continued their winning ways on Monday in the third round of the AAA state playoffs by defeating the River Bluff Gators 25-13, 25-21, 25-17.

“River Bluff has a good team, and they came at us with a strong defense and a powerful offense,” Pickens coach Jennifer Gravely said. “I’m proud of the way we rallied at crucial points and look forward to the rematch against Chapin in the Upper State.”

On Oct. 31, the Camden Bulldogs rolled into town hoping to reverse last year’s outcome, a third-round match going five games. It looked possible at the beginning. Pickens struggled in the opening half of the first game and had to pull away toward the end for a 25-17 victory. But the team tightened its defense while executing itsoffense, winning long rallies in the second and third games making it look easy. The Lady Flame won the final two games 25-8, 25-9.

The Lady Flame volleyball team faced the West Oak Warriors in the first round of the playoffs on Oct. 29 at Pickens High School. The Warriors won a play-in match the night before against Palmetto to get the opportunity to see the top seed from Region II.

Unfortunately for West-Oak, Pickens came out on fire, putting up the first 17 points on the scoreboard before making an error to give West-Oak the ball. The Warriors wouldn’t keep it, and the Lady Flame cruised to a 25-2 victory in the first game. West-Oak put up a bit of a fight in the second and third games, but the result was the same, 25-9, 25-16.

“That’s the cleanest I’ve ever seen us play. Almost a perfect game,” Gravely said with a smile. “Guess it still leaves room for improvement.”