Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Bluffton’s girls used a dominant defensive effort and a balanced attack to claim a convincing win.
Five Bobcats scored at least seven points, and Bluffton’s post defenders locked down the paint to hand rival Hilton Head High a season-ending 46-30 loss in the Region 7-4A tournament semifinals.
The Bobcat bigs got it done at both ends of the floor, as freshman Madison Washington scored 10 points and Kayleigh Washington added eight while holding Seahawks star Lynda Young without a field goal until the fourth quarter.
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Both teams got off to a sluggish start at the offensive end, as the Bobcats led 8-6 after one quarter. But Bluffton’s Tacoya Heyward got rolling in the second, scoring half of her 10 points, and fellow freshman guard Katie Rodney added five of her seven in the quarter to push the lead to 22-11 at halftime.
“Sometimes we get off to a slow start,” Bluffton coach Lonnie Roberts said. “I think we shot the ball pretty well for the first two or three minutes, and then we kind of went into a little slump. I think the end of the third quarter we kind of found our pace and started finding the open man and getting easy baskets.”
Cassandra Gray banged in a 3-pointer to start the third, and it looked like the Bobcats would run away, but freshman Deja Godsun nailed a pair of triples to keep the Seahawks within striking distance. Godsun finished with a game-high 11 points.
The Washington sisters took control down the stretch, though, as Kayleigh repeatedly got to the line to score five points in the fourth, and Madison added four in the period to help the Bobcats close it out.
The Bobcats (10-2) will host crosstown rival May River in the region championship game at 6 p.m. Wednesday with the winner claiming the top seed in the Class 4A playoffs.
“It’s a lot on the line, No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs,” Roberts said. “Sometimes people say three times is a charm, but three times playing a team is definitely going to be tough.”
By Justin Jarrett