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
Layla Warren, BHS
The Eagles found their footing midseason because of Warren’s supporting cast stepping up, but when her team’s playoff hopes have been on the line, it’s been Layla Time. Warren *averaged* 24.5 points in two wins over the past week, including a ridiculous 32 points in a 49-41 win over Hilton Head High. She also snagged five boards and seven steals per game and dished out two assists per contest. They’ll need her to do something similar tonight against May River.
Honorable Mention: Tacoya Heyward, BLHS; Kynew Barnwell, WB; Dior Shelton, HHCA; Morgan Scott, MRHS
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Zhani Thompson, WB
How dominant was Thompson in No. 2 Whale Branch’s 46-27 rout of top-ranked Military Magnet? She ripped down 22 boards. TWENTY-TWO. Her 12 points were huge, too, but the powerful post duo of Thompson and fellow DPOW nominee Erin Rivers (17 boards) was the difference in the matchup of the top two teams in the Class 1A rankings. Thompson finished a 3-0 week with averages of 12 points, 14 boards, 3.7 steals, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 blocks. Strong.
Honorable Mention: Cassandra Gray, BLHS; Erin Rivers, WB; Layla Warren, BHS; Charlotte Van Den Heuvel, MRHS; Molly Smith, HHCA
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Whale Branch (3-0 last week, 10-0 overall)
What more can we say about the Warriors at this point? They’ve been plagued by an inconsistent schedule but have used it to push harder in the gym and develop more depth, and it’s all coming home to roost. LaToya Mack’s talented squad easily handled early-season tests against Estill, Wade Hampton, and Cross … then didn’t play for 2+ weeks. But the Warriors came roaring out of the break with three dominant wins, including a 46-27 drubbing of top-ranked Military Magnet to clinch the region title. With dynamic point guard Kynew Barnwell, defensive stopper Jazmin Diaz, and matchup nightmare Zhani Thompson, the Warriors already had a talented core. But now Erin Rivers and Layla Love are emerging as game-changing players, as well. The road through the playoffs will be difficult, but the Warriors have been up for every challenge thus far, and we have no reason to expect that to change.
Honorable Mention: Bluffton (2-0); Beaufort High (2-0); HHCA (2-0); May River (1-0)
GAME OF THE WEEK
May River at Beaufort High, Wednesday
There’s a lot at stake in this one, as the winner will earn the No. 2 seed in the Region 7-4A tournament starting Friday — and home-court advantage in a potential rematch in Monday’s semifinals, where a playoff spot will likely be on the line. The Sharks took the first meeting, 37-26 at home on Jan. 19, but Beaufort had only six players available for that contest and was without sophomore guard Quinn Wilson, their No. 2 scorer. May River’s post players will be a handful for the Eagles to guard, but Beaufort has Layla Warren, and both teams have improved steadily throughout the season and are playing their best basketball. Lace ‘em up.
(Offensive, Defensive, Team)
Week 1: Mike’Ala Washington, BA; Erin Rivers, WB; HHCA
Week 2: Kynew Barnwell, WB; Jazmin Diaz, WB; Hilton Head Prep
Week 3: Dior Shelton, HHCA; Tacoya Heyward, BLHS; Bluffton
Week 4: Layla Warren, BHS; Tacoya Heyward, BLHS; Whale Branch
Week 5: Dior Shelton, HHCA; Jordan Bigham, MRHS; HHCA
Week 6: Ki’Ayisa Moultrie, BHS; Layla Warren, BHS; HHCA
Week 7: Layla Warren, BHS; Zhani Thompson, WB; Whale Branch