Each week throughout the high school girls basketball season, we 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
Dior Shelton, HHCA
Did you think we forgot about Dior? Never. Somewhat slowed by a nagging injury, Shelton was able to ease her way into the season thanks to an outstanding supporting cast that is more than capable of carrying the load any given night. But when the Eagles have needed her to turn it on, she’s been ready, and now she’s looking like she’s close to full strength, if not all the way back. She put up 20 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks in a rout of a solid Bulloch Academy team in HHCA’s only game of the week, so if you forgot about Dior, you better remember.
Also nominated: Quinn Wilson, BHS; Katie Rodney, BLHS; Ru Bennett, JPII; Avery Brothers, HHP; Lynda Young, HHIHS; Mike’Ala Washington, BA
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tacoya Heyward, BLHS
After bursting onto the scene as an eighth-grader last season as part of the dynamic “T’n’T” duo with Tatyana Aiken, Heyward got the keys to the car this year, and she’s still learning how to drive, but she’s got an incredible feel for the track. Heyward is still working on her outside shot, so she has nights when her contributions don’t show up in the scoring column, but she’s still the heart and soul of a talented, young team. She scored only five points in a win over Beaufort High on Tuesday, but she created for her teammates and played lockdown defense, and when the Bobcats needed her to find an extra gear against Hilton Head High, she poured in 18 points to lead a second-half comeback and a key region win.
Also nominated: Layla Warren, BHS; Skylar Smith, HHCA; Cayce Graves, JPII; Avery Brothers, HHP; Anna Genova, HHIHS
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Bluffton Bobcats (2-0 last week, 2-1 overall)
The Bobcats opened the season with a tough test against a top-5 Class 1A team in East Clarendon, and it seems to have helped set the tone for a grueling early schedule. Bluffton was able to grind out tough region wins against Beaufort High and Hilton Head High this week, getting off to a fast start in what should be a competitive Region 7-4A schedule. Most impressive is the fact that the Bobcats are running three freshmen in their six-player rotation, and the kids are handling it remarkably well. When Beaufort committed to taking Heyward out of the offense, limiting her to five points on four field-goal attempts, senirs Samari Mitchell (12 points) and Kayleigh Washington (10 points) stepped up, and freshmen Tacoya Heyward and Katie Rodney form a nasty backcourt. As the kids continue to grow up, the Bobcats will be a problem.
Honorable Mention: HHCA (1-0), BA (1-1)
GAME OF THE WEEK
HHCA at Savannah Country Day Playdates, Dec. 29-30
The local slate is pretty lean this week with few holiday tournaments remaining on the schedule this year, but Kenny Conroy’s Eagles didn’t have to go far to find the kind of next-level competition many top teams seek over the holidays. HHCA won’t be tested often in its region schedule, so the Eagles will hop over the Savannah River to face a couple of Georgia public-school foes. HHCA takes on South Effingham at 11 a.m. Tuesday — the Mustangs beat May River by nine — and then faces undefeated Richmond Hill (which hammered HHIHS by 30) at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. If the Eagles come out of this week undefeated, they will have done something.
(Offensive, Defensive, Team)
Week 1: Mike’Ala Washington, BA; Erin Rivers, WB; HHCA
Week 2: Kynew Barnwell, WB; Jazmin Diaz, WB; HHP
Week 3: Dior Shelton, HHCA; Tacoya Heyward, BLHS; BLHS