High School Basketball: Girls squads gearing up for postseason play

info@islandpacket.comFebruary 13, 2012 

The area's girls basketball teams enjoy a clean slate as they open the S.C. High School League playoffs tonight.

Hilton Head Island High School -- the No. 1 seed in Region 7-AAA -- will face Socastee at 6 tonight to start the Class 3-A playoffs.

The Seahawks (19-5, 9-1) are coming off a disappointing loss to archrival Bluffton High School on Friday night. Hilton Head High led by 12 points early in the fourth period before the Bobcats rallied to claim a two-point victory.

Seahawks coach Dave Greenberg isn't completely sure whether his group of girls will be able to rebound so quickly from a frustrating defeat.

"We'll find out Monday," he said. "It's tough. It's a test of their character. ... Sometimes you find out who you are when something bad happens to you."

Hilton Head High had won 11 straight games before Friday's loss and will attempt to begin another streak against the Braves. Socastee comes to the Lowcountry with a 9-13 record, which includes consecutive double-digit losses to North Myrtle Beach and St. James to end the regular season.

The Braves are an experienced group, despite their record. They returned six veterans from last year's squad, all of which started at some point in 2011.

If the Seahawks win, they'll host either Marlboro County or A.C. Flora on Thursday night at 6 p.m.

The Bobcats (19-4, 9-1 Region 7-AAA), meanwhile, will host North Myrtle Beach in the Den at the same time tonight. The Chiefs are 17-7 and come to Bluffton on the heels of a four-game win streak. They're led by Taylor Allman, who averages 17.6 points, four rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.1 assists per game.

The Chiefs also have India Farmer in the paint, as she averages 10.9 points and 10 rebounds a game for North Myrtle Beach.

Battery Creek High School (6-14, 5-5 Region 7-AAA) will travel to Myrtle Beach after claiming the region's No. 3 seed. The Dolphins rolled over Lake Marion to close the regular season.

Leading the Dolphins into the playoffs is top scorer Daisja Cannon. Cannon scored a game-high 24 points during the victory over Lake Marion.

Myrtle Beach, the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAA, is led by one of the state's top players, point guard Khadijah Sessions. The senior, who signed to play for South Carolina, averages 28.8 points per game.

In Class 1-A, defending state champion Ridgeland High School (19-4, 14-0 Region 5-A) will host Cross. The Jaguars completed an undefeated Region 5-A schedule Feb. 8 by defeating Hardeeville 53-24.

Defense was the Jaguars' theme during its run to the title in 2011. And a carryover, guard April Jenkins, has put together another solid season. Jenkins, ranked by the state's coaches during the preseason as one of the top five seniors in Class 1-A, leads the team in scoring (12.4 ppg), steals (5.6 spg) and assists (4.3).

Ridgeland will try to answer expectations after being ranked No. 1 to start the year, despite losing the Class 1-A player of the year to graduation.

"The main goal was to defend the title," Ridgeland coach Frederick Toomer said after his girls defeated Hardeeville last week. "Not to just come out and have a letdown this year because of who may have graduated."

Whale Branch High School (14-6, 11-3 Region 5-A) will play host to the school's first basketball playoff when it welcomes Charleston Math & Science. The Warriors earned the No. 2 seed from Region 5-A.

The second-year program received a break on its way to the home playoff game when Estill lost to Allendale-Fairfax to close the regular season.

Coach Wilbert Bryant said Whale Branch is moving in the right direction.

"I think down the line, we can definitely make a run," Bryant said. "We've got the pieces in place. The program is off and running."

S.C. HIGH SCHOOL LEAGUE BASKETBALL PLAYOFF MATCHUPS

Today's games

Class 3-A girls

Socastee at Hilton Head High, 6 p.m.

North Myrtle Beach at Bluffton, 6 p.m.

Battery Creek at Myrtle Beach, 7 p.m.

Class 1-A girls

Cross at Ridgeland, 7 p.m.

Charleston Math & Science at Whale Branch, 7 p.m.

Tuesday's games

Class 3-A boys

Socastee at Bluffton, 6 p.m.

Hilton Head High at Wilson, 7 p.m.

Class 1-A boys

Ridgeland at Baptist Hill, 7 p.m.

Whale Branch at Burke, 7 p.m.

Wednesday's games

Class 4-A boys

Beaufort High at Orangeburg-Wilkinson, 7 p.m.

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