The two island rivals entered Friday night going in opposite directions, and the result was no surprise. Dior Shelton and Molly Smith scored 12 points each, and a surging Hilton Head Christian Academy girls team took down a struggling Hilton Head Prep squad on the road 48-28 to stay unbeaten on the season.
The Dolphins gave their rivals a challenge early with their strong play on the defensive end and some fantastic offense from Ella Clark. The junior got Hilton Head Prep’s attack going with a three-pointer and assists on Haylee Hopman and Avery Brothers layups, but the Eagles responded with a strong seven-point first quarter from Molly Smith. The electric shooting guard showcased her assortment of abilities, driving to the rim and hitting the outside shot to give her team a 12-8 lead.
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Shelton was guarded well by the Dolphin defense, but HHCA’s guards could not be contained. Molly Smith continued her hot start with a corner three, Devon Yarde motored her way to the hoop for a layup, and Skylar Smith knocked down a triple to extend the advantage to 11 as time ticked down in the first half. Clark looked to spark a rally as the half came to an end, sinking a sensational stepback three to trim the lead to single digits.
But the Eagles stymied their rivals in the third period to take full control. Kenny Conroy’s squad was fantastic on the defensive side, limiting the Dolphins to just six points as the home side’s offensive inconsistencies continued. The threes weren’t falling for the visitors but they still found success inside, drawing fouls and sinking 10 of 13 free throws to pull away to a 40-22 lead after three. Yarde showed off in the second half, driving to the rim like a bolt of lightning and finding open teammates, evidenced by a beautiful dime to set up a Skylar Smith jumper. Shelton cleaned up on the boards all night and sank an important five of six at the line to grow the lead in the third quarter before capping the contest with an and-one.
Yarde and Skylar Smith each put up eight for the undefeated Eagles, while Abby Peduzzi and Mary Yanker chipped in with four. Ella Clark led the way for the Dolphins with eight, while Avery Brothers scored all of her seven in the first half.
Hilton Head Christian (12-0, 3-0) travels to Colleton Prep on Tuesday.
Hilton Head Prep (3-6) is at Thomas Heyward on Wednesday.
Written by Wes Kerr / Video by Ervin Lassiter