FLORENCE, S.C. (WCIV) - It had all the makings of a story for the ages. A team works to honor a fallen coach by playing and to shock by winning.
There wasn't an empty seat in the crowd as Kingstree High School took on Bishop England in the Lower State Semifinal, but there was an empty seat on the bench. There was a coach coaching from above.
Kingstree's Head Coach, Sonya Burgess, was killed in a car accident on Monday night. The team defeated Lake City less than 24 hours after her death to advance to the semifinals against Bishop England.
All sights were set on a state title in Columbia, but that dream came to an end in Florence.
"With all we went through, the girls played tough but B.E. was better. Our hats off to them. Our girls could have folded, but they didn't and I'm proud of them. Miss Burgess is proud of them," said Kingstree interim coach Theodis Faison.
The game was what it was: a team in Kingstree overmatched by the defending State Champs.
"We had to leave our sadness aside and get on the court because we had to handle things on the court," said Kingstree senior Latoya Jones. "We left it all on the floor the way [Coach Burgess] likes. Even if we lost, she loved it because we left it in the floor."
"We beat No. 2 and No. 3. We just had trouble with No. 1," said Faison.
The run ends with heads held high. They walk out of one gymnasium on Saturday and Sunday they will be right back into another one for a funeral of the coach they loved.
"She's pleased. She's pleased because she said at her last practice, she said, 'Faison, if we don't win, lose or draw, we had a good run.' She said over the last 10 years, I'd like to get to lower state and we did that," said Faison.
Bishop England sent Kingstree a sympathy card earlier this week.