A new season brings new hope for the area’s public school girls basketball teams. Only two of the seven local teams posted winning records last season, but the teams who took their lumps hope to turn last year’s trials into this year’s success.
May River finished right at .500 and Beaufort High was on the cusp of a winning season a year ago, and both return four starters, leading to optimism for big jumps in 2018-19. Bluffton was competitive in just about every game last season and brings back three starters, and Hilton Head High has almost everyone back and hopes to prove last year was an outlier and return to contending for region titles.
The two teams who were on top of the standings last year hope to stay there despite graduating key players. Ridgeland-Hardeeville lost three starting guards off last year’s Class 3A runner-up team, and Battery Creek graduated its top two players after finishing second in the region behind the Jaguars.
FIVE TO WATCH
• Tatyana Aiken, Jr., G, BLHS: Bobcats’ top player looks to improve on solid 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 steals as sophomore
• Miley Ray, Jr., G, HHIHS: Seahawks’ leader averaged 10.1 points and 5.1 boards a year ago
• Chynna Sneed, Jr., F, MRHS: Post presence put up 11.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore
• Marlaysia Westbrook, Jr., F, RHHS: Aims to take on bigger role after averaging 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals last year
• Darien Watkins, Sr., G, BHS: Excellent 3-point shooter averaged 10.8 points last season
Coach: Sarah Hayes
Overall record: 65-36 (4 seasons)
Record at school: 65-36 (4 seasons)
2017-18 record: 18-6
Top returners: G Coresha Rutledge, Jr.; G Trinity Coney, Sr.; F Starr Reed, Jr.; G/F Emonee Johnson, Soph.
Key losses: G/F Ta’Quasia Lampkin, F/C Kendriana Shojgreen, G Kevea Sanders
Top newcomers: C Dazanni Hinton, Jr.; G/F Hallelujah DeJesus, Jr.
Outlook: The Dolphins are in search of a new identity after losing stars Ta’Quasia Lampkin and Kendriana Shojgreen to graduation. Rutledge and Coney were all-region performers a year ago who will have to grow into bigger roles, and Hinton is a volleyball star with the potential to make an impact in the post.
Coach: Reggie Jones
Overall record: 49-69 (5 seasons)
Record at school: 49-69 (5 seasons)
2017-18 record: 11-13
Top returners: SG Darien Watkins, Sr.; PG Layla Warren, Soph.; F Brittany Linton, Soph.; C Lillian Sumner, Sr.; G Essence Champion, Sr.
Key losses: G Jhaniyah Lynch
Top newcomers: SG Seqoia Smalls, Jr.; PG Taylor McFadden, Jr.
Outlook: The Eagles still rely on a number of underclassmen, but they gained valuable experience a year ago. Watkins is a lethal outside shooter, Linton is a well-rounded player, and Sumner has the makings of a strong post player, giving the team a strong foundation.
Coach: Lonnie Roberts
Overall record: 170 – 198 (16 seasons)
Record at school: 142 – 174 (15 seasons)
2017-18 record: 10-14
Top returners: G Tatyana Aiken, Jr.; F Allayah Bryan, Sr.; G Samari Mitchell, Soph.
Key losses: G Kennedy Barber, G Juddah Mitchell, F Deborah Bent, F Jewel McCants
Top newcomers: G Cassandra Gray, Soph.; F Jalynn Ferguson, Soph.; G Brionna Anderson, Jr.; G Amber Massimo, Jr.; F Kayleigh Washington, Soph.; F A’Quira Williams, Jr.; F Aniya Lee, Jr.
Outlook: The Bobcats return three starters, but Aiken is the only one who played a key role at the offensive end last season. Bryan and Mitchell will have to be more involved, and the newcomers will have to learn on the fly. The team will thrive on defense, quickness, and effort.
HILTON HEAD HIGH
Coach: Sean Rochester
Overall record: 19-49 (3 seasons)
Record at school: 19-49 (3 seasons)
2017-18 record: 4-16
Top returners: G Trinity Feltner, Sr.; F Caroline Brammer, Sr.; G Miley Ray, Jr.; F Kristen Fielding, Soph.; F Morgan Wright, Jr.
Key losses: G Megan MacDonell; G Sarah Genova
Top newcomers: G McKenzie Ryan, Fr.; G Janiya Ferebee, 8th; G Julia Willey, Soph.
Outlook: The Seahawks took their lumps during a transitional year last season, and they hope the experience pays dividends after a strong offseason. Brammer, Feltner and Ray played on the region championship team two years ago and provide strong leadership, and they’ll try to coax along promising young players Ryan and Ferebee.
Coach: Jermaine Bigham
Overall record: 138-153 (13 seasons)
Record at school: 17-31 (2 seasons)
2017-18 record: 13-13
Top returners: PG Emma Peluso, Soph.; F/C Chynna Sneed, Jr.; F/C Jordan Bigham, Soph.; G Gracyn Drury, Jr.
Key losses: C/F Casey Sullivan
Top newcomers: None
Outlook: The Sharks return almost everyone from last year’s 13-13 team, including an excellent post duo in Sneed and Bigham. Point guard Peluso will be even better with a year of varsity experience under her belt, which should help May River match or improve upon last year’s third-place region finish.
Coach: Frederick Toomer
2017-18 record: 18-4
Top returners: F Lenasia Singletary, Sr.; F Marlaysia Westbrook, Jr.
Key losses: G Jamee Mack, G Quanajia Drayton, G Timothea Green
Outlook: The Jaguars have some big shoes to fill in the backcourt with the graduation of three standout guards, including All-Lowco Player of the Year Quanajia Drayton. They have a couple of solid building blocks in Singletary and Westbrook, who played key roles on the state runner-up team last year, and an accomplished coach in Toomer, who will have them ready for another postseason run.
Coach: LaToya Mack
Record at school: First season
2017-18 record: 1-17
Outlook: The Warriors look to improve upon last year’s one-win campaign.
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