Dan Sheehan’s Hilton Head Prep girls always bring their lockdown D to the court. But when the threes and free throws start to fall, too, these girls can make some noise.
Sami Heginbottom and Haylee Hopman led a scorching-hot third quarter after a three-point halftime deficit, and Ella Clark iced it from the free-throw line to give the Dolphins an impressive 49-34 home win over Pinewood Prep on Friday.
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It was looking like it could be another long night for the hosts early, as a turnover-plagued start put HHP in a 13-4 hole. But the Dolphins found a spark to change their fortunes right before halftime, and it came from an unlikely source. Senior Sami Heginbottom, who made her name for the Dolphins as a tennis star, rattled off some crafty layups right before the break to cut the lead to just 15-12 at the half.
Then Sheehan’s squad caught fire. After some strong defensive intensity to begin the second half, the Dolphins lit it up from long range, draining five threes in the third quarter to finish the frame on a 19-4 run and take command of the game. Heginbottom and Hopman both sank a pair of triples, and freshman Gracie Henderson added another.
The Panthers started the final quarter with some momentum of their own after cutting the lead to five, but reliable Abi Mendoza came up big, powering to the hoop and converting a layup. Danyelle Sanders answered back with a three to trim the lead again, but Hilton Head High transfer Emma Moore scored on a beautiful fast-break pass, finishing off a three-point play to stretch the lead back. A sensational performance at the free-throw line polished it off, with Clark sinking 6 of 8 from the line to shut the door.
Heginbottom led the way for the Dolphins with 16 points. Hopman joined the senior in double figures with 10, Clark posted eight with some solid work at the line, and Moore added seven to help HHP hold off a Pinewood team that knocked off Class 4A May River in overtime earlier in the week.
The Dolphins (2-1) are right back at it Saturday, traveling to the Habersham School.
Written by Wes Kerr / Photo by Justin Jarrett