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
Katie Campbell, HHP: It’s been a breakout season for Hilton Head Prep in Phillip Hartman’s first season, and senior guard Katie Campbell has been at the forefront. She delivered her best performance yet in a statement 75-46 win over Beaufort Academy on Tuesday, recording a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Campbell has been a revelation for the Dolphins’ offense along with her younger sister Courtney, making high-level passes and adding a solid outside shot. She added to her standout week with a 12-point showing in a win Wednesday over John Paul II and put up 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in a narrow loss at First Baptist on Saturday. The SCISA 3A playoffs will certainly not be easy, but a strong effort from Campbell could give the Dolphins a chance to keep an unforgettable season going.
Tacoya Heyward, BLHS: When sophomore big Madi Washington went down with a season-ending injury, Lonnie Roberts looked to his team’s leader to take charge. Tacoya Heyward answered the call and led her Bobcats to a pair of wins to complete a second consecutive perfect Region 7-4A run. The sensational sophomore showed it all in two dominant performances, pouring in 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and seven steals against James Island on Tuesday before posting 10 of her team’s 30 points on Thursday in a defensive struggle with Lucy Beckham. A talented guard who can overwhelm opponents in so many different ways, Heyward will need to showcase her leadership, shot-making, and hustle on the court for the Bobcats to make a run in a difficult 4A Lower State bracket.
Tahleea Heyward, BA: Mike’Ala Washington has been the headline-maker for most of the season at Beaufort Academy, but it was Tahleea Heyward who came up big several times this week for Andrew Ienuso’s Eagles. Showcasing her quick hands, explosive speed, and reliable shooting skills, Heyward put up a tremendous 19 points at Thomas Heyward on Monday before matching her total the next night in Sea Pines against a menacing Hilton Head Prep defense. The junior guard has become a versatile and athletic playmaker for a potent Beaufort Academy squad, elevating her offensive skill set over the course of the season while maintaining her stifling on-ball defense. With a terrific and experienced core alongside an up-and-coming Kamirah Freeman, the Eagles are looking like a solid playoff contender again in SCISA Class 2A.
Abby Peduzzi, HHCA: There are some players who coaches dream of having on their roster, and there’s no better example this year than Hilton Head Christian Academy’s Abby Peduzzi. With star forward Dior Shelton lost to graduation, Peduzzi has become the go-to playmaker inside, racking up rebounds on both ends and excelling in the post. She scored 12 key points in the Eagles’ hard-fought win at John Paul II on Tuesday while using her standout defensive intensity to stymie an upset-minded Golden Warrior squad. The junior notched an incredible triple-double in limited action against Thomas Heyward with 18 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 steals Thursday before finishing the week with a terrific 10-point performance and a win against an athletic Beach (Ga.) side on Friday. Peduzzi has become the gold standard of a proven winner here in the Lowco, and the three-sport star will look to keep up that work ethic as she eyes another SCISA 2A state title.
Ashante Shaw, BCHS: The Battery Creek Dolphins are back in the SCHSL 3A playoffs, and a big reason why has been the play of Ashante Shaw. The breakout junior has been a monster on the glass this season and showed her rebounding prowess again this week with 18 points and 13 rebounds at North Charleston on Tuesday to secure the third seed in Region 8-3A. Shaw has stepped up her game as the season has worn along, becoming an indispensable component of a young and talented Battery Creek squad. If she can combine her standout rebounding with a solid effort on the defensive end of the floor, the Dolphins should have a shot at pulling off an upset or two on the road.
IN THE ROTATION: Courtney Campbell, HHP; Makayla Chisolm, CCHS; Maddie Heathcott, JPII; Haylee Hopman, HHP; Katie Rodney, BLHS; Erin Rivers, WB; Morgan Scott, MRHS; Mike’Ala Washington, BA; Kiara Wilson, BCHS; Devon Yarde, HHCA
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Bluffton Bobcats (2-0 this week, 20-1, 12-0 overall)
Another perfect Region 7-4A campaign is in the books, but Tacoya Heyward and the Bluffton Bobcats are hungry for more. Their task got tougher after losing key forward and post presence Madi Washington, but Coya is more than capable of providing the scoring, defense, and leadership that this team needs to pull off a special postseason run. With forward Trinity Fields and her remarkable 12-rebound performance against James Island alongside sophomore guard Katie Rodney and impressive seventh-grader Amirah Brown, the Bobcats have all the supporting pieces to complement a young star who continues to reach new heights on the court. Bluffton’s guards will have to take great care of the ball and knock down some shots while staying true to their suffocating and high-energy defensive play. After their playoff opener with Darlington on Wednesday, the 20-1 Bobcats could face a massive test Friday against a high-powered North Myrtle Beach squad. It will be far from easy, but Lonnie Roberts’ squad has the talent and the hunger to make this the year that Bluffton breaks through in 4A girls basketball.
Honorable Mention: Battery Creek (1-0), Hilton Head Christian (3-0), May River (2-0)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Darlington at Bluffton, SCHSL 4A First Round, 6:30 p.m.
Even in a 32-team bracket, the opening round for the Bluffton Bobcats will be far from a cakewalk. They may just be 2-6 in region play, but the Falcons have shown that they can compete with the best teams in the Lower State, playing Region 6-4A champs South Florence twice to nine and seven-point defeats while taking two of three games from Hartsville. Bluffton’s stingy defense will be tested right away from a Falcons squad that can shoot well and find ways to set up quality looks at the basket. The Bobcats will have to rely on their dynamic duo of guards to pressure Darlington’s ball-handlers and take advantage of their speed while working hard to set up quality shots on the offensive end. Rebounding on both ends will be a massive factor, and the Bobcats would love to get some help from Trinity Fields and others without the reliable presence of Washington on the court. Lonnie Roberts’ squad will be favored, but the ‘Cats will need to be on their best game to advance against what could be a pesky Falcons side playing with house money.
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