Throughout the high school girls basketball season, we’ll recognize the standouts from the previous week’s action with the Lowco Girls Hoops Spotlight presented by 4M Metals.
We select our Starting Five of the top players of the week, along with a few standouts we’re keeping “in the rotation,” as well as a Team of the Week, and highlight the biggest game of the upcoming week. Here’s this week’s installment of the Lowco Girls Hoops Spotlight presented by 4M Metals.
LOWCO STARTING FIVE OF THE WEEK
Kynew Barnwell, WB: It was only a matter of time until Kynew Barnwell put up a big number this season, and on Saturday night, she rewrote her school’s record book. The Whale Branch senior guard put on a show on her home court, dropping 37 points against Wade Hampton to break her school’s single-game scoring mark. She nearly led her squad to a big upset win over Class 1A’s top team earlier in the week, notching 22 points against Military Magnet before foul trouble derailed the Warriors’ chances. With her terrific vision and passing abilities at point guard alongside a potent outside shot, Barnwell has the talent and drive on both ends to carry Whale Branch to a deep playoff run. The Warriors will go as their star point guard goes, but they will be especially motivated after last year’s first-round exit.
Tacoya Heyward, BLHS: She only played one game this week, but Heyward came up huge on Friday night to power the Bobcats to a massive overtime region win. After being held to just a pair of points against a motivated James Island team in the first half, Heyward caught fire down the stretch, scoring an incredible 16 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to rally past the Trojans to stay atop the Region 7-4A standings. The sophomore guard completely took over the game in the extra session, pouring in all eight of the Bobcats’ points while employing her dominant defensive pressure to limit the Trojans to just one made field goal and free throw. With still two more full years at the high school level, “Coya” has already developed into one of the area’s best all-around guards.
Abby Peduzzi, HHCA: Tamya Hutchinson may be the starring attraction most nights for Hilton Head Christian Academy, but the offense can’t hum without the efforts of junior standout Abby Peduzzi. The three-sport phenom has taken her hoops prowess to another level here in 2021-22, using her terrific strength and athleticism to win on the glass and consistently put the ball in the basket. She may have been the most impactful player on her team over the past week, averaging a double-double with 12 points and 10.3 rebounds. Her winning effort and mentality have transferred to all three of her HHCA teams, and the emergence of her play at forward and in the post should be huge down the stretch in region play.
Mike’Ala Washington, BA: When her Beaufort Academy Eagles needed the big play in a crucial region matchup, Washington delivered. The star junior guard showed her clutch gene on Friday, finishing strong at the hoop for a three-point play with 2.3 seconds left to lift BA over Hilton Head Prep 43-41. It was the capper to another sensational week for Washington, who started it off with a 20-point effort against Colleton Prep before scoring 17 to lead her Eagles back from a 12-point halftime deficit against a tough Dolphin squad. A prolific scorer who works hard on the defensive end, Washington is making quite a claim as one of the Lowco’s most talented and clutch players.
Kiara Wilson, BCHS: Putting in a terrific season for one of the Lowco’s breakout teams, Wilson did a bit of everything for Battery Creek this week to help the Dolphins to a key region victory. She was just a handful of rebounds and steals away from a triple-double against Hanahan, posting a remarkable 18 points, eight boards, and eight steals in a 37-25 win over the Hawks. Wilson was key to getting the Dolphins out in front early, going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and scoring 11 of Battery Creek’s first 15 points to spark a game-opening 15-0 run. Her defense was as good as her offense on Tuesday night, anticipating passes and using her quick hands to set up buckets on the other end. With an excellent start to her junior season under head coach Lonnie Kluttz, Wilson’s strong play will be vital to the Dolphins’ chances of a high finish in a competitive Region 8-3A.
IN THE ROTATION: Katie Campbell, HHP; Kamirah Freeman, BA; Tahleea Heyward, BA; Tamya Hutchinson, HHCA; Morgan Scott, MRHS; Ashante Shaw, BCHS; Brooke Smith, THA; Skylar Smith, HHCA; Macy Taylor, THA; Madi Washington, BLHS
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Beaufort Academy Eagles, (2-0 this week; 11-4, 2-1 overall)
After taking a beating at the hands of SCISA 2A dynasty Hilton Head Christian Academy, the Eagles bounced back in a big way with a pair of key region victories. They took advantage of a get-right game on Tuesday in a 62-35 downing of Colleton Prep and quickly turned attention to a battle with an improved Hilton Head Prep squad looking to make its own region statement. The Eagles couldn’t solve a stingy Dolphin defense in the first half, but a gritty BA squad rallied back from a 12-point halftime deficit thanks to the heroics of junior guard Mike’Ala Washington. It was an impressive feat for first-year head coach Andrew Ienuso, who adjusted on the fly and put his trust in his best player’s hands to pull out a tremendous win. Washington is a dynamic scorer with the ability to take over the game at any moment, and junior teammate Tahleea Heyward is an explosive guard with quick hands and agility who has also found success on the block. Alongside the emergence of sophomore Kamirah Freeman, the Eagles have the talent to put points on the board and the resiliency to keep working hard through the final buzzer. If the young talent can continue to improve alongside the starring duo, Beaufort Academy could be very tough to beat down the stretch.
Honorable Mention: Bluffton (1-0, 12-1); Hilton Head Christian Academy (2-1, 11-2); Thomas Heyward (1-0, 1-7)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Bluffton at Lucy Beckham, 6 p.m. Tuesday
The Bobcats passed a huge test with an overtime triumph at James Island, and they’ll have another tough one on Tuesday with a chance to take full command in the Region 7-4A standings. They may be just 7-6, but the Bengals have been battle-tested early on this season and will be hungry to knock off the defending region champs. Sophomore Virginia Byrd will be tough for a talented Bobcat defense to hold down, averaging 16 points per game while shooting lights-out from 3-point range. Logan Collins has been a breakout freshman star making impacts on both ends, and Elizabeth Folline provides an important interior defensive presence while showcasing an elite court vision. The Bobcats will need a strong effort from Madi Washington to control the battle on the glass and will rely on Tacoya Heyward to stay hot on the offensive end and force some mistakes when the Bengals bring the ball up the court. It’s an early opportunity for the Bobcats to cement themselves as a Lower State contender in what should be a challenging road battle.
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