Hilton Head Prep girls basketball defied expectations all season with its tenacious defense and scrappy play, but the Dolphins couldn’t overcome a huge size deficit in the paint Tuesday night at the Sumter Civic Center, falling 54-33 to three-time defending state champion Cardinal Newman in the SCISA 3A quarterfinals.
South Carolina commit Ashlyn Watkins scored 19 points and controlled the glass, and freshman Lauren Jacobs added 16 points and anchored the Cardinals’ outstanding defensive effort to move Cardinal Newman within one win of reaching the title game for the fifth straight year.
“Tonight we lost to a very good team,” HHP coach Phillip Hartman said. “Not surprisingly, we struggled to rebound and make layups. We were bothered by the size and length of Watkins. However, the freshman Jacobs, she deserves most of the credit. She plays both ends and is really the keystone of that entire team. When Jacobs is not on the floor, it’s a different team.”
The Cardinals pounced early, building a nine-point lead after a quarter and putting the Dolphins on the defensive. HHP settled in after the sluggish start and held the line, going into halftime down 24-15. The Dolphins clawed within four in the third quarter, but Cardinal Newman put together a surge at the end of the period to bump the margin to 13 going to the fourth and pulled away in the final eight minutes.
Senior guard Katie Campbell led the Dolphins with 10 points, while freshman Courtney Campbell added eight, and senior Ella Clark had seven.
After going 10-11 a year ago, the Dolphins finished 18-9 in Hartman’s first season at the helm, their first winning season since 2016-17.
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