It’s no secret that the Lowcountry is a hotbed for youth tennis talent with training academies attracting top-level players from around the country, as well as plenty of home-grown talent, and that certainly was true during the high school girls tennis season this past fall.
Hilton Head High and Hilton Head Prep each reached the final four of their classifications in the fall, and several other teams around the Lowco boasted individual players who could hang with the state’s best. And that will be true for years to come, because only a couple of the area’s top players were seniors in 2020.
The first-ever All-Lowco Girls Tennis Team presented by PC Master honors the area’s best high school stars.
ALL-LOWCO FIRST TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Emily Ruckno, Soph., HHIHS
After picking up all-state honors as a freshman, the writing was on the wall that Ruckno was poised to be a dominant force at the top of the Seahawks’ lineup for years to come. There was no sophomore slump for Ruckno, who won four straight matches at the Class 5A/4A state singles tournament to reach the final before falling to region rival Piper Charney of Lucy Beckham. Her presence in the No. 1 slot was huge for Hilton Head High, which reached the Lower State finals before running into Charney and the Bengals in the latest installment of a rivalry that will only pick up steam as long as the teams share a region.
Avery Brothers, Jr., HHP
When you’re playing No. 1 at Hilton Head Prep, you’re the real deal, and Brothers fit the bill. The junior led the Dolphins to an undefeated record in region play and earned region Player of the Year honors before guiding Hilton Head Prep to the SCISA 3A semifinals.
Trice McClure, 8th, JPII
Sure, she’s only an eighth-grader, but McClure’s game is all grown up. She earned all-region honors in a competitive SCISA Region 4, sharpening herself against top competition in the No. 1 slot and even earning a thrilling three-set win over region Player of the Year Avery Brothers.
Sierra Seabra, Soph., HHIHS
Another sensational sophomore for the Seahawks, Seabra was a steadying force in the lineup and helped Hilton Head High to a runner-up finish in Region 7-4A and a trip to the Lower State finals before winning three matches at the Class 5A/4A state singles tournament.
Hailey Poplin, 8th, HHIHS
Even after the strong sophomore class graduates, Hilton Head High’s program will be in good hands thanks to Poplin, who played as high in the lineup as the No. 2 slot as an eighth-grader and earned all-region honors.
Natalie Bassett, Sr., MRHS
A mainstay in the lineup since May River’s inception, Bassett was a strong force in the No. 1 slot as a senior for the Sharks, taking on some of the state’s best in a deep, competitive region and earning a spot on the all-region team.
Phelan O’Keefe, Soph., BLHS
Yet another sophomore sensation, the Bobcats’ No. 1 player went toe-to-toe with the state’s best all season long and earned all-region honors as well as picking up a victory in the Class 5A/4A state singles tournament.
Lizzie Lofye, Jr., HHP
The No. 2 player in a loaded Dolphins lineup dominated the competition and earned all-region honors, and she’ll be back for another season.
Olivia Rose Besecker, Fr., MRHS
Cypress Daniel, 8th, BHS
Sami Heginbottom, Sr., HHP
Caitlyn Jackson, 7th, HHCA
Shields McClure, 6th, HHCA
Emma Moore, Jr., HHP
Ellory Pruitt, 8th, BLHS
Danielle Silvan, Jr., HHIHS