HSGBB: OP ousts BA in semis, sets up showdown with HHCA

The prospect of an All-Lowco state final in SCISA 2A girls basketball went by the wayside Thursday when Orangeburg Prep ousted Beaufort Academy in the semifinals, frustrating the Eagles’ offensive stars in a 57-23 victory to earn a shot at three-time defending champion Hilton Head Christian Academy in the championship game.

After holding John Paul II under 20 points in the quarterfinals, the Indians brought the same defensive intensity to their matchup with BA, making the Eagles work for every shot and stifling stars Mike’Ala Washington and Tahleea Heyward.

“Their defense gave us fits. High energy and fundamentally sound,” BA coach Andrew Ienuso said. “They were stifling in their halfcourt defense, contesting every shot. They also limited our opportunities to get out in transition. Great effort by OP.”

Orangeburg Prep (20-2) will face a stiff test in trying to contain HHCA’s numerous weapons and dethrone the three-time champs, but the Indians locked down BA’s top scoring threats, as senior Mary Hanna Hiers led the Eagles with six points. 

BA finished 19-7 in Ienuso’s first season at the helm, and Hiers was the only senior contributor, so the future looks bright. 

“It’s always difficult seeing a season come to a close, but I am so proud of these girls for their dedication and commitment to one another and this program,” Ienuso said. “I feel blessed to be a part of a program that has supported us this season. I’m thrilled at what this group can achieve next season and beyond.”

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