Even after a sluggish first half, Hilton Head High coach Russell Raniszewski never doubted his team’s grit. In their second game against May River in two days, his Seahawks dug deep and proved him right.
Gianna Timko drained a game-tying 3-pointer with under a minute left, and Lynda Young hit the go-ahead free throw to overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half Wednesday and beat May River for the second straight day in a dramatic 38-37 home win.
The game began much like it did the night before at May River, as the two rivals showcased their strong defensive intensity in the opening quarter. The Sharks relied on the scoring of Casey Laing in the first, as the junior made both of her free throws in the period to give her team a 6-5 lead. Hilton
Head High’s defense battled hard and took away May River’s top offensive threat, holding Morgan Scott off the scoreboard in the first half. But that didn’t stop the Sharks from finding their offense, as Jermaine Bigham’s young guards stepped up in the second quarter. May River shot an impressive 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the period, and Brooke Dalton splashed a 3 with 10 seconds left in the half to carry a 19-13 lead into the break.
The Seahawks were in need of a spark from their leader, and Young found her game after halftime with some brilliant plays on both ends. After saving a loose ball from going out of bounds, the sensational sophomore found Deja Godsun for a bucket underneath before Young hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to four. But the Sharks continued to impress with their hustle, picking up rebounds and knocking down shots to swell the lead to double digits. Morgan Kronimus was lights-out in the period, knocking down a midrange jumper before hitting a 3 in the corner to make it a 12-point ballgame.
The Seahawks finished the quarter strong, as a Godsun and-1 layup and a Young feed to Janiya Ferebee made it a 32-25 Shark lead with eight minutes to go. Despite Scott playing much of the second half in foul trouble, the Sharks were able to find production elsewhere, as Dalton drained a jumper early in the fourth quarter to nudge the lead to nine. But Hilton Head’s Chyna Fields also elevated her game down the stretch, scoring on a rebound putback and delivering a beautiful pass to Timko as the Seahawks cut it back to five.
May River began to employ a four corners offense in an attempt to drain the clock, but the Seahawks wisely amped up the pressure and started fouling as the Sharks went cold from the free-throw line.
With time winding down and the door cracking open for a late comeback, Young seized the opportunity, hitting a pair of shots from the line before dropping in a floater to cut the lead to three. The Seahawks’ chances were running thin as the clock dipped below a minute, but Godsun’s stellar hustle paid off to bring her team all the way back. The sophomore guard corralled a rebound inches away from the end line and drove to the basket looking to draw a quick foul, but she saw Timko waiting from beyond the arc, and the sharpshooting senior drained it to tie the game at 37.
The Seahawks’ defensive pressure forced another Shark turnover, and Ranseziswski called timeout to set up a play for Young. The sophomore phenom came up clutch again, drawing Scott’s fifth foul and hitting the second shot from the line for a one-point lead with 22.7 on the clock. Macey Dowe found a wide-open look from three, but the shot was off the mark as the Seahawks salted away the come-from-behind victory.
Young came up big to finish off a back-to-back sweep of the Sharks, scoring nine of her 12 points in the second half and ripping down 13 rebounds. Timko scored 11 including the clutch game-tying triple, and Godsun added all six of her points in the third quarter. Kronimus had an excellent game for May River, leading all scorers with 15 points, while Dalton added nine and Laing had four points and seven rebounds.
Hilton Head High (9-11, 4-5) hosts Beaufort High on Friday in another crucial region clash. May River (6-13, 2-8) travels to Lucy Beckham on Tuesday needing an upset win to buoy its playoff hopes.
By Wes Kerr
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