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: The senior guard continues to lead the way for a surging Warriors squad, posting a pair of 20-point games to help push Whale Branch to second place in a competitive Region 7-1A. Barnwell’s lights-out shooting and stellar athleticism were on display again this week, scoring 21 of her team’s 39 points on Tuesday alongside seven rebounds and two assists in a crucial home win over Cross. She followed it up with another big night in North Charleston on Wednesday, adding 24 points with a rebound and three steals to take down Palmetto Scholars Academy. One of the most highly-skilled point guards in the Lowco, Barnwell’s performance will be critical for the 10th-ranked Warriors’ chances to make a deep playoff run.
Shandi Brown, CCHS: In a game that they needed to have on the road, Brown put the Colleton County Cougars on her back and poured in 32 points at Hilton Head High on Friday to give a huge boost to her team’s playoff hopes. Brown was unstoppable on her swift drives to the basket, sinking layups and drawing fouls to power the Cougars past a tough Seahawk defense. She was nearly automatic from the free-throw line, shooting 13-of-17 from the stripe including 7-of-8 in the fourth to outduel Hilton Head’s Lynda Young and pull away down the stretch. With her high-energy play on the offensive end and her reliable scoring touch, Brown has emerged as the leader of a Colleton County squad that should make a strong push for a top-four region finish.
Tahleea Heyward, BA: Mike’Ala Washington may have made the headlines on Friday night by scoring her 1,000th career point, but it was Heyward who made the biggest impact in the Eagles’ fifth consecutive win. The junior guard showed off her dynamic abilities on the court with her brilliant play on both ends, leading her squad with 23 points alongside four rebounds, three steals, and an assist in a victory over Holy Trinity. She hasn’t always gotten the notoriety compared to Washington, but Heyward has become an indispensable scoring outlet and electric defender who can use her quick hands to storm her way to the basket at any second. With the skill of their junior duo combined with the emergence of sophomore point guard Kamirah Freeman, the Eagles have the talent and the chemistry to make some noise and will be hungry for another battle with Lowco rival and three-time defending SCISA 2A champ Hilton Head Christian Academy on Tuesday.
Katie Rodney, BLHS: The Bobcats have relied on Tacoya Heyward to carry the scoring load this year, but it was her fellow sophomore sensation that stole the show on Tuesday night. Rodney caught fire from the outside at the Nest, and the Bobcats rode her hot hand for a 21-point game to down Hilton Head High and stay unbeaten in Region 7-4A play. The game was never in doubt thanks to her shooting from beyond the arc and her active hands on defense, draining a trio of three-pointers and dominating in transition with eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals. The Bobcats will bring their dominant D each night on the court, but if they can hit their threes at a strong rate this team could be very dangerous going forward.
Kiara Wilson, BCHS: After coming close several times this season, Wilson pulled off the elusive triple-double on Tuesday night. Most importantly, her performance was a catalyst to a 3-0 week in region play for her Battery Creek Dolphins. It started with the memorable outing Tuesday, as Wilson dominated Academic Magnet with an incredible 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 steals. But it was just the start to a big week for the Dolphin senior, scoring 13 points in a key road win over Hanahan on Friday before notching 16 more Saturday to pound North Charleston and surge to a 5-2 mark in Region 8-3A. With her outstanding scoring ability and exceptional defensive effort, Wilson has become the go-to playmaker for a Dolphin team that could surprise some others in February.
IN THE ROTATION: Courtney Campbell, HHP; Katie Campbell, HHP; Jayla Daise, BHS; Cayce Graves, JPII; Maddie Heathcott, JPII; Tacoya Heyward, BLHS; Mike’Ala Washington, BA; Quinn Wilson, BHS; Devon Yarde, HHCA; Lynda Young, HHIHS
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Battery Creek Dolphins (3-0 this week, 9-10, 5-2 overall)
In a crucial stretch this week of three games in five days, the Battery Creek Dolphins delivered and vaulted themselves into second place in Region 8-3A. Sparked by Kiara Wilson’s triple-double on Tuesday, the Dolphins downed Academic Magnet by 20 before finishing off the sweep of Hanahan on the road Friday and crushing North Charleston a day later. It was a trio of strong victories for Lonnie Klutz’s squad, winning all three games by 15 or more points to put themselves into a favorable playoff position heading into the season’s final two weeks. Wilson has become a star at point guard who can find ways to score and open up looks for her teammates, and Sophia Felix has stepped up in the backcourt alongside the rebounding and defensive prowess of forward Ashante Shaw. The Dolphins have the pieces in place as we approach February, and a pair of games this week against Bishop England and Oceanside Collegiate could go a long way toward showing what this team is capable of in the playoffs.
Honorable Mention: Bluffton (2-0), Beaufort High (1-0), Whale Branch (3-0), Hilton Head Christian (2-0), Hilton Head Prep (3-0), Beaufort Academy (1-0), John Paul II (3-0)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Hilton Head High vs. May River, Tuesday and Wednesday, 6 p.m.
After the first meeting was cancelled earlier this month due to COVID-19 concerns, the Sharks and Seahawks will meet on back-to-back days this week for a crucial home-and-home series. The two Region 7-4A rivals will play at May River on Tuesday before crossing the bridge to face off at The Nest on Wednesday. It’s looking like a must-win, or maybe a must-sweep for both teams, who both currently sit outside the top four of the region standings. In what could be a duel between a pair of star sophomore forwards in Lynda Young and Morgan Scott, the always-important areas of rebounding and ball control could be the differences for the team that propels themselves to a potential late-season surge. A home-and-home battle between two of the Lowco’s budding stars with everything on the line? Sign us up.
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