Karen Floyd will be the first to admit it wasn’t pretty for John Paul II’s girls early in the season. She doesn’t mince words.
“We were a disaster,” Floyd says, content to say it aloud thanks to the fact that the Golden Warriors are anything but a disaster these days. One of the most improved teams in the Lowco picked up a signature win Tuesday, holding off Beaufort Academy 49-48 to avenge a 13-point loss on Feb. 2. JPII lost six of its first seven games, but the Golden Warriors have gone 4-3 in their past seven, and that includes a pair of losses to two-time defending state champion Hilton Head Christian Academy.
“These girls have something special going on, and it’s exciting to be a part of it,” Floyd said. “They’ve never once hung their heads this season, and I’m so glad they got to experience a big win like tonight. Everyone played their part so well.”
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Maddie Heathcott had another big game for the Golden Warriors with 11 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and four steals, and Taylor Michael added 11 points, three assists, and four boards to lead a balanced effort.
BA’s dynamic backcourt duo of Mike’Ala Washington and Tahleea Heyward did their part to get the Eagles off to a hot start and fuel a second-half comeback, combining for 40 points. Heyward scored seven of her 18 in the first quarter to lead BA to a 14-11 lead after eight minutes, and she had eight in the fourth to nearly lead the Eagles to a comeback victory.
Washington poured in 22, including four 3-pointers — one in each quarter — but her six points were the only scoring for BA in a huge second quarter that swung the momentum to JPII. The Golden Warriors locked down on defense and sparkled on offense heading into halftime. Heathcott was huge on the boards, denying BA second chances, and JPII did a beautiful job of making extra passes to find open teammates.
Heathcott made a sweet dish to Michael for an easy layup in transition, then Michael returned the favor by skipping a dime cross-court to a cutting Brady Mahoney as JPII closed the half on a 12-2 run.
The Eagles closed the gap in the third, and it was back-and-forth until the finish before JPII closed out a big region win. Bella Termini added 10 points, three assists, and four boards and went 6-of-7 from the line, hitting 3-of-4 down the stretch to help JPII hang on, and Mahoney finished with eight points and eight boards.
It was the regular-season finale for BA (12-8, 7-3), while JPII (8-9, 5-4) hosts Hilton Head Prep on Wednesday.
By Justin Jarrett