The Thomas Heyward Academy girls basketball team watched most of a double-digit lead dissipate in the final two minutes, but Richard Winn Academy's desperation shot at the buzzer misfired, and the Rebels escaped with a 48-47 victory in the SCISAA Class 2-A quarterfinals Monday in Sumter.
Jamie Malphrus scored 25 points, and Kayla Canavan added 17 to help Thomas Heyward build its big lead. The Rebels (19-5) led by 10 with a little more than two minutes left, coach Gary Mazzanna said, but they had a tough time closing it out, as Alex Maass led the comeback with 22 points for the Eagles.
"We didn't execute very well, didn't hit our free throws, made a couple bad decisions and they got real hot," Mazzanna said. "They started doing some things right. Things started clicking for them toward the end, and we were wearing down."
Two missed free throws in the final seconds gave Richard Winn (24-2) a chance, but the potential game-winner wouldn't go, sending the Rebels into a semifinal matchup against Thomas Sumter at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Generals, who advanced by beating Spartanburg Christian, are led by College of Charleston signee Mikael Hopkins, a 6-foot-5 center who averages 19 points per game.
That's a matchup that concerns Mazzanna.
"We've just got to get them out of their game and try to play our up-tempo game," he said.