Catawba Ridge’s Makailah Davis dribbles up the court as an AC Flora defender stalks her during the Copperheads’ third round playoff game Wednesday night.

When the pressure was the greatest, the Catawba Ridge Copperheads girls’ basketball team were able to keep calm and thrive to advance to the 4A Upper State championship.

The third ranked Copperheads beat the AC Flora Falcons 55-49 in the third round of the playoffs Wednesday night and will now take on the No. 1 ranked Westside Rams at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 at Bob Jones University in Greenville trying to punch their ticket to the 4A title game Saturday, March 5 at USC-Aiken. The Copperheads improved to 23-2 on the season with the win.

Copperheads head coach Sheridan Pressley said she knew the game was going to be a matter of peaks and valleys.

“I am super proud of my kids,” she said. “The game was going to be a game of runs.”

Pressley called it right as Catawba Ridge was able to use those runs to their advantage and hold off AC Flora when they needed to.

“They are very active defensively,” Pressley said. “We executed early. There are no bad teams now. We have to prepare. We have to put ourselves in situations to win.”

AC Flora was able to hang with Catawba Ridge for much of the first half as the Copperheads had a small 28-22 lead at the half. In the second half, Catawba Ridge looked as if they were going to run away with the game starting the third quarter on a 13-0 run to go up 41-22, but the Falcons didn’t go quietly.

Catawba Ridge’s Tatum Postel scored 13 points in the game including eight points in the third quarter hitting two key 3-pointers during the period.

The Falcons finished the third quarter on an 8-0 run to pull within 11 points at 41-30. In the fourth quarter, Catawba Ridge didn’t get off as many shots as they had been shooting about 11 shots per quarter, while they attempted just five shots in the final period.

That allowed AC Flora to creep back in the game as they took advantage of five fourth quarter turnovers from the Copperheads. Overall, AC Flora’s aggressive defense caused unofficially 19 turnovers in the game for Catawba Ridge.

One thing that helped the Copperheads was their ability to hold the ball in the fourth quarter, which led to the Falcons having to foul. Catawba Ridge went to the charity stripe 10 times in the final period hitting eight of those foul shots.

Besides Postel’s 13 points, Region 3-4A freshman of the year Makailah Davis led the Copperheads with 20 points and the region player of the year Skyla Tuthill added 12 points in the win. Davis really got things going Catawba Ridge’s way in the second quarter as she scored nine points and then dropped in another seven points in the fourth quarter to lead the Copperheads.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

The Copperheads’ Morgan Davis looks to move around an AC Flora defender during Catawba Ridge’s Wednesday game.