Another year, another perfect region run. Freshman Devon Yarde shined with 15 points on Tuesday, and the Eagles pitched an incredible second-half shutout on their way to a 50-9 annihilation of rival Hilton Head Prep at the Island Rec Center. With the victory, HHCA’s seniors completed an unreal fourth straight SCISA 2A undefeated region campaign.
“It feels really good to make it this far,” senior Dior Shelton said. “We’re trying our best to get back to the state championship and win again, and we’re pushing each other to do our best every day in practice.”
The domination began right from the start, with sensational play from point guard Molly Smith and lights-out shooting. Yarde laid in a beautiful Molly Smith give-and-go to get the night rolling before the 3-point barrage began. The Smith-to-Smith connection could not be stopped, as Molly found Skylar for a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter and Yarde for another to surge ahead 15-2.
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The terrific ball movement, shooting, and defense continued in the second. Skylar delivered a dazzling cut pass to Mary Yanker, and Abby Peduzzi put up a flurry of points including a strong finish in the paint to cap off a 24-0 run. The Eagles were on top of Hilton Head Prep’s offensive attack every time up the court, pressuring the Dolphins and forcing a number of turnovers. But the visitors started to find something late in the half. Junior Ella Clark delivered a pair of dimes, resulting in an Annie Braun bucket and an Emma Moore three. Moore stayed hot with a bank-in jumper as HHP rattled off seven straight points to cut into the big lead.
But those would be the last points the Eagles would give them for the rest of the night. Mackenzie Buchter converted a three-point play to stop the run before HHCA star Dior Shelton made her return, finishing off an and-one of her own to send her squad up 32-9 heading into the half.
The Eagles came back after the break and locked down their bitter rivals, shutting out the Dolphins for the final two quarters through a relentless effort forcing tough passes and difficult shots. HHP has gotten back into games quickly this year with their hot shooting, but they just couldn’t find the bottom of the net this time in the second half. Yarde continued to torch the Dolphins on the offensive end, zooming her way to the bucket for a layup before sniping a corner three on her way to seven third-quarter points. Caroline Yanker tallied the only Eagle basket in the fourth, but the defense did the rest, shutting down a talented HHP tandem to complete the second-half shutout and a dominant 50-9 victory to cap off another perfect region campaign.
“We’ve been trying to keep a team from scoring 10 this whole season,” Shelton said. “We’ve been working on defense a lot during this season, so I’m proud that we actually did that.”
Skylar Smith rode her hot early shooting for 10 points, and Abby Peduzzi added seven. Emma Moore led the Dolphins with five points.
HHCA (20-1, 10-0) awaits their first opponent in the SCISA 2A state tournament.
Hilton Head Prep (7-9) concludes the regular season Wednesday at John Paul II.
By Wes Kerr