High School Basketball

Weslake scores 25 to lead Beaufort Academy girls past Thomas Heyward

Eagles claim region championship

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 8, 2014 

Miranda Weslake knows when she crosses halfcourt, her coach and team will support her when and where she decides to shoot.

And so with the Beaufort Academy girls basketball team locked in a tight game for the region title with rival Thomas Heyward Academy, and the frustration mounting for Weslake as shots rattled out, she persisted.

Weslake got a key 3-pointer to fall during the fourth quarter, attacked the basket late in her final regular-season home game and made the go-ahead free throws as the Eagles held off the Rebels to win 35-32.

"When we needed them, she made them," Beaufort Academy coach Brock Vaigneur said.

Beaufort Academy (12-6, 7-1) won the SCISAA Region 1-AA region crown and will play host to the region tournament next week.

Weslake finished with 25 points Friday, exactly the number Vaigneur has come to expect from his senior. And the Eagles' supporting cast came through when needed.

Freshman guard Mary Keane, whose defense helped stall the Rebels during the fourth quarter, banked in two free throws with seven seconds remaining to help secure the win.

"I think we were really confident, and we stayed with our game, and we pulled it out," Keane said.

Keane anchored the top of the Eagles' 1-3-1 zone and later switched to man-to-man when Vaigneur went with a triangle-and-two to lock down the Rebels' top scorers.

Thomas Heyward (11-9, 5-2) used a 6-0 run early in the third quarter to lead 22-17. But after two inside baskets to start the fourth quarter, Thomas Heyward was held to only one field goal over the final 5:40.

Weslake's 3-pointer with 2:13 left brought the Eagles within 32-31. She drove and drew two free throws with under a minute remaining and made both to give Beaufort Academy the lead for good.

"I've played basketball four years now, I've learned you've just got to keep going," Weslake said. "You can't get frustrated, because that's just going to make you play worse."

The Eagles targeted Sydney Glassberg and Ellie Bryan with their gimmick defense. The pair combined for 15 points.

Beaufort Academy will open the region tournament against the play-in game winner, either First Baptist or Charleston Collegiate. Thomas Heyward will open with St. Andrew's.

The meeting Friday was the third between the teams this season. Thomas Heyward won big during a holiday tournament, with Beaufort Academy without its leading scorer. The Eagles swept the regular-season series.

"It couldn't have gotten any better," Vaigneur said.

Beaufort Academy girls 35, Thomas Heyward Academy 32

Thomas Heyward (11-9, 5-2 SCISAA Region 1-AA) -- Cheyanne Gray 12, Sydney Glassberg 9, Ellie Bryan 6, Jamie Davis 3, Allison Brendlen 2

Beaufort Academy (12-6, 7-1) -- Miranda Weslake 25, Hope Gray 6, Mary Keane 2, Casey Kahn 2

Thomas Heyward boys 69, Beaufort Academy 46

The Thomas Heyward boys found their shooting touch early and didn't give Beaufort Academy a chance for the upset on senior night.

The Rebels started with three 3-pointers -- a 9-0 run -- in the first two minutes. Dylan Tillotson's 3 midway through the first quarter made it 17-1, and the Eagles couldn't recover.

After the opening quarter, the Rebels outscored the Eagles only 42-41.

"When we can get Tilly, Davis (Owens) and Collin (Roach) going from the outside, that helps a lot," Thomas Heyward coach Nic Shuford said.

Thomas Heyward finished third in SCISAA Region 1-AA entering next week's region tournament at Beaufort Academy. The Eagles finished winless in region play and will compete in the play-in game next week.

Beaufort Academy coach Chip Dinkins said he was pleased with how his team played after the first four minutes Friday.

"Thomas Heyward forced us into their game," he said. "And we never really got into our game."

Thomas Heyward (11-11, 3-4 SCISAA Region 1-AA) -- Davis Owens 19, Dylan Tillotson 17, Seth Jones 15, Evan Duncan 5, Collin Roach 5, Jason Quick 3, Chase Munich 2, Zach Belger 2, Harrison Wall 1

Beaufort Academy (3-13, 0-8) -- Tucker Trask 13, Kane Thorpe 11, Reyn Robinson 8, Brandon Massalon 4, Clay Melville 4, Jack Dailey 2, Walker Floyd 2, Nicky Macuch 2

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