The Whale Branch girls rose to the challenge of a Class 1A top-10 matchup Saturday, as the fourth-ranked Warriors rolled to a 59-43 home win over No. 9 Cross in a pivotal Region 7-1A matchup.
Kynew Barnwell poured in 28 points to lead the way as Whale Branch took control from the outset and never let the Trojans back in it.
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The Warriors led 19-14 after one quarter and turned it on in the second, extending the advantage to 35-21 at halftime. The Trojans clawed back within 10 going to the fourth, but Barnwell took over in the fourth quarter with 10 points to help Whale Branch close it out without any drama.
Whale Branch was without center Erin Rivers for the second straight game, but sophomore Layla Love stepped in with 12 points, including eight in the second half, to pick up the slack. Zhani Thompson added 10 points, and Jazmin Diaz had nine for the Warriors.
Tranice Smalls scored 15 points, and Lauren Middleton added nine for the Trojans.
Whale Branch (7-0, 2-0) is scheduled to play at Charleston Math & Science on Tuesday.