High School Basketball

Hilton Head High girls hope for better results in playoffs this season

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com

February 20, 2014 

Whale Branch High School junior Kemoni Jenkins, center, drives the lane for a layup against Hilton Head Island High School junior Americal Jenkins, left, in the fourth quarter in a game at Whale Branch High School on December 17, 2013.

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Dave Greenberg recalled the trip his Hilton Head Island High School girls basketball team made to North Myrtle Beach last year.

A slow start doomed the Seahawks, and North Myrtle Beach bounced them in the second round of the Class 3-A playoffs.

This time, the Chiefs drive down to Hilton Head Island as the Seahawks play host on Thursday to open the Class 3-A playoffs.

Greenberg noted North Myrtle Beach all-state forward India Farmer is now at South Carolina. He hopes he has a more mature unit and that home court helps.

"They're a different team this year than last year, and I would like to think we are, too," Greenberg said.

The Chiefs' threat is in post players Marci Chestnut and Aquera Johnson.

Johnson averages a double-double of 10.7 points and 10.6 rebounds, and Chestnut averages 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds.

The Seahawks' solution is Americal Jenkins, who leads the team in scoring, with 12.9 points per game, and rebounding, with 16.6, which is believed to be the best mark in the state.

"She's been able to neutralize everybody, pretty much," Greenberg said. "We've just got to keep her out of foul trouble, so she will have to play smart."

Greenberg said Jenkins would have help in the post and that Hilton Head High's balanced scoring might provide the edge.

He thinks the recent bad weather might have helped the Seahawks. The team's game at Hanahan on Feb. 13 for the region's No. 2 seed was moved to a Saturday, making travel easier. Also, the first round being delayed allowed teams more practice time.

Whale Branch Early College High School and Battery Creek High School also open the playoffs at home Thursday. Ridgeland-Hardeeville travels to Calhoun County.

The Warriors are home again after some scheduling fun.

They closed the regular season Monday with a loss at Denmark-Olar, meaning the teams had to meet again in Estill on Tuesday for a tiebreaker to decide the Region 5 champion.

The Warriors won, earning their second consecutive region crown, and would enjoy their home court throughout the playoffs if they continue winning.

Whale Branch has had to adjust to the loss of post player Jonae Riley, who tore multiple ligaments in her knee in January.

Cheyenne Rogers moved to the post and Dana Chapel to the wing.

"We miss that height; we miss that rebounding," Whale Branch coach Wilbert Bryant said. "But we'll get over it."

GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS

Thursday, first round

Class 3-A: No. 3 North Myrtle Beach at No. 2 Hilton Head High, 6 p.m.

Class 2-A: No. 3 Wade Hampton at No. 2 Battery Creek, 6 p.m.

Class 2-A: No. 4 Ridgeland-Hardeeville at No. 1 Calhoun County, 6 p.m.

Class 1-A: No. 4 Charleston Math and Science at No. 1 Whale Branch, 6 p.m.

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