One key injury can derail a season — just ask almost any area SCISA girls basketball coach. Keeping those star players healthy will be crucial to the success of the area’s private-school teams this season, as it almost always is.
Hilton Head Christian Academy is loaded and looking for another big season, eager to get back to work after star forward Jasmine Campbell’s late-season injury hampered the Eagles’ playoff prospects a year ago.
The injury bug has already hit at Hilton Head Prep, where point guard Kierstin Clark will miss the season with a knee injury, which could lead to a long season for the Dolphins.
They hope to avoid the same fate at John Paul II, where everything is built around star Tkai DeVore, and at Beaufort Academy, where post player Amelia Huebel is poised for a big season.
With three players back after averaging double-digit scoring a year ago, HHCA enters the season as the clear-cut favorite to repeat as region champion, and perhaps much more. JPII will go as far as DeVore can carry them, and an influx of talented freshmen hope to help Thomas Heyward contend with the region’s top tier.
FIVE TO WATCH
• Jasmine Campbell, Jr., F, HHCA: First-team All-Lowco pick averaged 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds before ACL tear late in season
• Tkai DeVore, Jr., G/F, JPII: Area’s top returning player averaged 18.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, and five steals last season
• Brielle McCarthy, Jr., G, HHCA: Floor general stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals per game a year ago
• Amelia Huebel, Jr., C, BA: Strong post presence, averaged 10.9 points and 11.8 rebounds last season and will take on bigger role this season
• Jossie Frazier, Sr., SG, HHCA: Averaged 11.8 points and 6.5 rebounds to earn all-region honors last season
Coach: Lillian Aldred
Overall record: 89-69 (8 seasons)
Record at school: 15-8 (1 season)
2017-18 record: 15-8
Top returners: F Amelia Huebel, Jr.; G Emily Ann Hiers, Jr.
Key losses: PG Kendall Duncan, G Karolina Struharova
Top newcomers: F/G Shanese Bostick, Soph.
Outlook: The Eagles will have some growing pains as they work to replace point guard Duncan and leading scorer Struharova, and the offense will run through the post more this year. BA may struggle against a tough 2A region but should be competitive in the SCISA 1A playoffs.
HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Coach: Kenny Conroy
Overall record: 401-154 (20 seasons)
Record at school: 276-53 (13 seasons)
2017-18 record: 21-2
Top returners: Jossie Frazier, Sr.; Jasmine Campbell, Jr.; Brielle McCarthy, Jr.; Dior Shelton, Soph.; Mary Yanker, Soph.; Cortney Gray, Sr.; Ady O’Grady, Soph.
Key losses: None
Top newcomers: Skylar Smith, Fr.; Sydney DeSimone, Sr
Outlook: Virtually everyone returns from last year’s 21-2 team that appeared destined for a state championship before Campbell’s injury just before the playoffs. The Eagles will be expected to contend for the SCISA 2A title if everyone stays healthy.
HILTON HEAD PREP
Coach: Dan Sheehan
Overall record: 33-60 (5 seasons)
Record at school: 33-60 (5 seasons)
2017-18 record: 7-15
Top returners: F Olivia Light, Sr.; F Courtney Doyle, Sr.; G Ella Clark, Fr.; F Mackenzie Joyner, Jr.; G Annie Braun, Fr.
Key losses: PG Kierstin Clark (injury); C Alana McCallion
Top newcomers: G Haylee Hopman, Fr.; F Haley Majors, Fr.
Outlook: A young team got even younger with Kierstin Clark’s season-ending knee injury. Freshman Ella Clark led the team in scoring a year ago and will have to carry the load on offense, but the Dolphins will have to lean on their defense to be successful.
JOHN PAUL II
Coach: Karen Floyd
Overall record: 33-32 (3 seasons)
Record at school: 33-32 (3 seasons)
2017-18 record: 22-6
Top returners: G Tkai DeVore, Jr.; C/F Mary Foster Gaillard, Sr.; F Jasmine Hamilton, Jr.; G/F Abigail Quinty, Jr.; G Katie Leigh Floyd, Jr.
Key losses: C/F Abigail Barker, C/F Ayannah Thompson, F Lexie McIntosh
Top newcomers: Bella Termini, Taylor Michael, Jazmine Sanchez
Outlook: The Golden Warriors won’t have the size in the frontcourt they had a year ago, but they still have DeVore and loads of experience. That should be plenty to earn a playoff spot and perhaps do some damage in the postseason.
Coach: Chris Tillotson
Overall record: 53-19 (3 seasons)
Record at school: 53-19 (3 seasons)
2017-18 record: 12-10
Top returners: Ivy Bryan, Sr.; Bayli Belger, Jr.; Gabby Boyles, Sr.
Key losses: Alayna DeLong
Top newcomers: Keleigh Bowers, Fr.; Gracie Wade, Fr.
Outlook: After last season’s transitional year, but the Rebels return an experienced group led by Bryan. Wade is only a freshman but could end up as the top scorer on a team that should contend for a playoff spot.
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