The Copperheads’ Morgan Davis goes for a loose ball during Catawba Ridge’s second round game against Easley. Photos by Rob Upton

Catawba Ridge freshmen guards Skyla Tuthill and Makailah Davis combined for 51 points, including nine clutch fourth-quarter foul shots, as the Copperheads held off a spirited Easley comeback and secured a 68-54 win in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Catawba Ridge, now 22-2 overall on the season, led by as many as 26 points midway through the third quarter, but Easley put up 22 points in the final period that cut the lead to just 10 with less than three minutes on the clock.

But Davis and Tuthill were nearly perfect from the charity stripe, converting both foul shots time after time in the final two minutes.

With the win, the Copperheads will next host AC Flora in the Class 4A state quarterfinal at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23. AC Flora topped Greer 46-42 in their second-round matchup.

“At this point in the season, a win is a win,” said Copperheads’ head coach Sheridan Pressley. “We had some lapses on defense, but we’ll have to do a better job coming in to next week. We’ve got a couple days to move on, get prepared and get better.”

Tuthill led all scorers with 27 points, while Makailah Davis powered her way to 24 points. Junior guard Brielle Windisch and sophomore center Morgan Davis both picked up five points each, while Addison Cunningham scored two first-quarter field goals.

Catawba Ridge’s early lead proved too much for Easley to overcome. The Copperheads jumped out to a 21-9 lead after the first quarter, then extended it to 37-20 at halftime.

Makailah Davis pulled off back-to-back steals that led to buckets in a cagey first quarter. Easley splashed two straight 3-pointers in the second quarter that cut the Catawba Ridge lead to just eight, but the Copperheads stayed disciplined and answered those shots with layups of their own on their next trips down the floor.

“She’s such an important part of our motor,” said Pressley of Davis. “The way we get up and down, when she’s on defensively, turning that into points, either for herself or for others, it’s huge for us.”

Leading by 18 heading into the final eight minutes, Catawba Ridge could sense daylight. But Easley made four of its first five shots to cut the lead to 52-40 with about five minutes remaining.

And even when Easley got hot, including a 3-pointer and a jumper within the space of 30 seconds, the third-ranked Copperheads were still able to dribble past the Green Wave defense.

Foul as they might, Easley couldn’t stop Makailah Davis and Tuthill from draining their free throw shots, which kept the lead intact.

By the time Windisch hit a simple layup with 1:34 left on the clock, the outcome wasn’t in doubt.  

Catawba Ridge’s Makailah Davis goes for a steal against Easley Friday night.