High School Basketball

Hilton Head Christian girls face big challenge in Heathwood Hall star Wilson

mmccombs@islandpacket.comFebruary 28, 2014 

If you've ever wondered about the definition of the phrase "having your work cut out for you," you have to look no further than Hilton Head Christian Academy's SCISAA Class 3-A girls basketball semifinal game against Heathwood Hall on Friday night at the Sumter Civic Center.

The Highlanders (21-4) are led by arguably the top player in the nation, senior forward A'ja Wilson.

Wilson, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association high school player of the year, has narrowed her college choices to powerhouses Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"They're a very good team, they were in the championship last year and they center their offense around (Wilson)," Eagles coach Kenny Conroy said. "She's 6-4 and plays facing the basket. We'll have our hands full, but we'll have to go in with the mentality that we're going to compete."

Wilson averages 34.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 3.1 steals and a scary 5.1 blocks per game.

The numbers are daunting, but Conroy tried to downplay the matchup.

"It's not like we haven't seen a player like her," he said. "The girl in our region, Amber Campbell, is just as good as her, just as much of a dominant player."

Campbell, a Northwood Academy star bound for Wake Forest, averages 32.1 points a game this season. The Eagles (21-4) were 0-2 against Campbell and Northwood this season, falling 94-49 and 94-53.

Conroy said the awe factor of facing Wilson shouldn't affect Eagles standouts Ziaira Doe and Macee Tamminen because they played with her and against her in AAU ball. Instead, Conroy said the Eagles had to focus on the things they needed to do, not Wilson.

"We have to value the ball when we have it, be smart offensively, play good help defense and be there for each other as the game goes along," Conroy said. "They press and trap to get you out of your rhythm. Instead, we have to take our time. Don't pass the ball to get rid of it. Pass with a purpose."

Conroy said Hilton Head Christian would live or die by the long-range shot Friday. The Eagles shot 39 percent from behind the arc this season.

"We're going to try and knock down some shots," he said. "We're going to run with what's gotten us here."

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service