03/17/09 — SC girls enjoy first ever playoff birth

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SC girls enjoy first ever playoff birth

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 17, 2009 1:46 PM

Spring Creek is getting better and keeps leaving room for improvement on the basketball court.

The Gators' varsity girls basketball team recorded its highest regular-season finish in Class 1-A Carolina Conference play in 2008-09 and earned its first-ever playoff berth in the program's eight-year history.

Now the challenge is to build upon their success and revisit the postseason.

"The fact that the team made the playoffs shows them what is possible through hard work and teamwork," said sixth-year head coach Amanda Ramfjord. "They put the team goals ahead of their individual goals, and it was successful. An appearance in the playoffs is only a first step in the right direction.

"If they stay hungry for more, then the next steps will be taken."Spring Creek compiled just five victories against 14 losses and recorded a 3-7 record in conference play. Ramfjord's squad advanced to the Carolina Conference tournament semifinals for the fourth time during her tenure in Seven Springs.

Then came an opening-round loss to Coastal Plains champion Jones Senior in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Sectional No. 4 playoffs.

"My girls played through some tight games and always fought back in games when we were behind," said Ramfjord, who played at Southeast Whitfield (Ga.) High School. "There were three or four games this season where we were down by fifteen (points), and we cut the score to three or less -- or won the game."

Ramjford attributed the team's comebacks to defense.

"Defense wins games is my motto," said Ramfjord. "My dad (Alan) taught me that when I played in high school and even when I coached at Mount Olive College, that is what we told them."

Frontcourt mates Richelle Butler and Norma Valentin controlled the inside game. Butler, a two-year starter who transferred from Eastern Wayne, collected 121 points and 77 rebounds. A bruising presence underneath the basket, Butler played through an ACL injury.

Valentin set the school record for most rebounds (229) as the Gators swam into unfamiliar waters this season. She and Butler benefited from numerous passes in the halfcourt and transition game from junior guard Melanique DeVeaux.

DeVeaux, who earned a spot on the All-Carolina Conference team, poured in a team-high 213 points and dished out 55 assists for the season. The 5-foot-10 floor general also received second-team, All-Area recognition from the News-Argus.