They may have fallen short on Saturday, but the Bluffton girls’ future couldn’t be brighter. The Bobcats hung with a strong Myrtle Beach squad for three quarters, but the Seahawks rode an 11-0 run sparked by hot-shooting Jasmyn Jenkins to pull away 54-47 on the road and advance to the second round of the SCHSL Class 4A playoffs.
Bluffton started the contest strong, taking a 16-12 first-quarter advantage on the strength of five points apiece from Katie Rodney and Jalynn Ferguson. The Bobcats’ stellar freshman guards excelled in creating havoc and forcing turnovers on the defensive end while cashing in from the free-throw line. Bluffton led by as many as seven, but the Seahawks struck back with an Amirah Nelson triple to close within three at halftime.
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The Bobcats continued their strong defensive pressure to start the third, as freshman standout Tacoya Heyward tipped and snatched away a Myrtle Beach pass before hitting a wide-open Ferguson to grow the lead to four. But the Seahawks quickly evened the game, penetrating a tough Bluffton defense for a pair of free throws and a layup.
Then, a new postseason star was born. Jenkins, an eighth-grader, delivered an astounding late-game performance, sinking three second-half triples to catapult her squad ahead. The Bobcats couldn’t answer the young star’s heroics on the other end, as Myrtle Beach scored 11 straight in the fourth to complete the come-from-behind victory and end Bluffton’s memorable Region 7-4A championship season.
Heyward capped off a fantastic year with a game-high 16 points, and fellow freshman Rodney impressed with 10.
Jenkins’ tremendous second-half surge paced the Seahawks with 12, and Starashia Alston added 11.
The Bobcats conclude their season with a mark of 11-3, including a perfect region record.
By Wes Kerr