Brielle Jungblut admitted she was nervous about Friday night's game against Beaufort Academy. Not only was it senior night for the Rebels, but the senior guard needed only a point to reach 1,000 for her career.
Turns out, the milestone was the least of her worries. By the time Jungblut scored her first points at the 5:41 mark of the second quarter, it was obvious the Eagles were giving the Rebels all they could handle.
But Beaufort Academy's Anna Dyer would miss two free throws with 9.2 seconds remaining and Thomas Heyward leading by two to seal the Rebels' 48-46 victory.
"They put a lot of pressure on me," said Jungblut, who was held to nine points, seven off her average. "I've had a rough week and I was kind of a wreck. (Dyer) did a really good job on me. The pressure I put on myself, as well, hurt the team tonight."
Beaufort Academy coach Joe Matheny said the Eagles' goal was to take away one of the Rebels' two big scorers. Unfortunately for Beaufort Academy, the other half of the Rebels' dynamic duo refused to be slowed.
Senior Jamie Malphrus scored 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. The Eagles didn't have an answer for her. She scored all 13 Rebel points in the first quarter and 10 of the final 12 of the game.
"Our offense just wasn't on point tonight," Malphrus said. "Not everyone was able to contribute, and we had to adjust."
Malphrus, who scored her 1,000th point earlier in the season, even played point guard late in the game after Jungblut and fellow senior Taylor Ernestine had fouled out.
"Our kids got wrapped up in senior night and Brielle's milestone," Thomas Heyward coach Gary Mazzanna said. "We didn't want it as bad as they did tonight."
The Eagles were led by Miranda Weslake's 29.
"I'm proud of our girls," Matheny said. "They've come a long way."
Beaufort Academy (9-9, 4-4) -- Anna Dyer 3, Kiana Fortner 4, Carli Cline 4, Miranda Weslake 29, Charlotte Delfosse 6.
Thomas Heyward Academy (18-2, 8-0) -- Sissy Quick 4, Brielle Jungblut 9, Jamie Malphrus 30, Taylor Ernestine 5.
Beaufort Academy boys 47, Thomas Heyward Academy 45
After being blown out 52-31 by Beaufort Academy earlier in the season, the Rebels answered every challenge but the last this time, and Beaufort Academy hung on to win.
"You have to give them credit, they played hard," Beaufort Academy coach Chip Dinkins said. "We went up 18-4, they came back; 23-14, they came back; up by 10 again, they came back."
The Rebels stole the lead briefly in the fourth quarter, but trailing by two late, they could not convert on several close but contested shots and the Eagles locked up the third seed in next week's SCISAA Region 1-AA tournament.
Conner Akers led the Eagles with 16 points, while Finn Koppernaes scored 12 and had 11 rebounds. Preston Suber had 13 points and six rebounds.
"Our team had the greater composure down the stretch," Dinkins said. "We hit the free throws we had to make. We made the plays we had to make. We got it done."
J.D. Tuten and Davis Owens led Thomas Heyward with 12 apiece.
Beaufort Academy (8-11, 3-5) -- Conner Akers 16, Preston Suber 13, Finn Koppernaes 12, Charles Sanford 4, Lawton Harper 2.
Thomas Heyward Academy (8-14, 2-6) -- J.D. Tuten 12, Davis Owens 12, Zack Newton 10, Dylan Tillotson 10, Jason Quick 1.