Each week throughout the high school girls basketball season, we’ll recognize the standouts from the previous week’s action with the Lowco Girls Hoops Spotlight presented by 4M Metals.
We select an offensive and defensive player of the week, as well as a Team of the Week, and highlight the biggest game of the upcoming week.
Here’s this week’s installment of the Lowco Girls Hoops Spotlight presented by 4M Metals.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kynew Barnwell, WB
Barnwell is a waterbug who can dart through defenses to get to the rack — and somehow score inside despite her diminutive stature — pull up and knock down jumpers, and use her quickness to get into passing lanes and create easy buckets. She poured in 35 points in a blowout win over Class 1A No. 4 Estill to start the week, then followed it up with 27 in a rout of Bamberg-Ehrhardt on Friday, averaging 31 points, four rebounds, four assists, and four steals in a pair of victories. “KeKe” shot 62 percent from the floor this week, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range.
Also nominated: Morgan Kinlaw-Scott, MRHS; Janiya Ferebee, HHIHS; Maddie Heathcott, JPII; Sami Heginbottom, HHP; Emonee Johnson, BCHS; Mike’Ala Washington, BA
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jazmin Diaz, WB
Overshadowed by a pair of offensive juggernauts and an emerging monster in the post, Diaz goes about her business every night with most of her contributions evading the stat sheet. The junior guard stays set on max effort and wins virtually every 50-50 ball. Her defensive pressure was pivotal in the Warriors’ 68-42 rout of Estill on Tuesday, and she collected six points, five assists, and five steals in addition to her usual hidden contributions in a 54-12 blowout of Bamberg-Ehrhardt on Friday. Diaz doesn’t score much, because the Warriors don’t need her to, but they wouldn’t be rolling through the early competition without her defensive efforts.
Also nominated: Emma Moore, HHP; Emonee Johnson, BCHS; Cayce Graves, JPII; Jordan Bigham, MRHS; Mary Hanna Hiers, BA
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Hilton Head Prep Dolphins (2-0 last week, 3-1 overall)
The Dolphins have been full of surprises early in the season, but maybe it’s time to recognize this is just who they are. After grinding out a tough win over Coastal and showing a scrappy effort against two-time defending state champion Hilton Head Christian Academy, HHP hit its stride this week with big wins over Pinewood Prep (49-34) and Habersham School (55-34). The contributions are coming from unexpected sources, such as tennis star turned sharpshooter Sami Heginbottom, who was 7-of-10 from 3-point range and averaged 19 points in the two wins, or Emma Moore, the Hilton Head High transfer who averaged nine points, five steals, and two blocks to anchor the Dolphins’ defense this week. Dan Sheehan has HHP competing with — and beating — solid competition and prepared to scrap in a talent-laden region.
Honorable Mention: Whale Branch (2-0), May River (1-1), Battery Creek (1-1)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Bluffton at HHIHS, 6 p.m. Friday
The Seahawks haven’t shied away from tough competition early on, winning at Oceanside Collegiate and losing on the road to Peach State powerhouse Richmond Hill, and they’ll get another tough test in their first home game under new coach Russell Raniszewski. “Coach R” has a versatile, scrappy bunch led by Janiya Ferebee and Lynda Young, but the Bobcats boast freshman phenom Tacoya Heyward, who was one of the area’s best players as an eighth-grader in her first season at the varsity level. Heyward has a solid supporting cast led by Samari Mitchell and Kayleigh Washington, and the Bobcats have a bunch of young, developing talent. This should be a great rivalry in the coming years, and Friday night will provide a glimpse of who has the upper-hand for now.
Honorable Mention: Beaufort High at Bluffton (Tuesday); Beaufort Academy at Battery Creek (Tuesday); Hilton Head Prep at Northwood (Friday)
(Offensive, Defensive, Team)
Week 1: Mike’Ala Washington, BA; Erin Rivers, WB; HHCA
Week 2: Kynew Barnwell, WB; Jazmin Diaz, WB; HHP