Hilton Head Christian saw its chance for a second consecutive SCISA girls’ basketball title fall into a deep freeze Thursday, as it was unable to dig its way out of a cold-shooting first half in falling to Spartanburg Christian 47-42 in the Class 2-A semifinals.
A parade of missed shots left the Eagles facing a 23-12 deficit at halftime. They never got closer than four points despite their comeback efforts.
“We had one of our worst offensive performances in a half for the entire year,” Eagles coach Kenny Conroy said. “The ball just wouldn’t go into the basket. We missed layups; we missed jump shots. They got out early on us 6-0, and it was an uphill battle the rest of the way.”
The Eagles (22-7) were seeking a second trophy to go alongside last year’s captured by a senior-laden team.
Ziaria Doe, the lone holdover from that squad, led all scorers with 23 points but didn’t get enough help from her supporting cast. No other HHCA player scored in double figures, with freshman Jossie Frazier next at nine points.
“She took it hard,” Conroy said of Doe, named earlier in the week as the Region IV Player of the Year. “The others took it hard, too. They had a very good season at 22-7, and I take my hat off to them for staying in it down to the final minute. They gave it everything they had.”
Alice Camacho led Spartanburg Christian with 20 points. Meredith Ray knocked down a trio of 3-pointers on the way to 16 points, including one at the third-quarter buzzer after the Eagles cut the deficit to four points.
“We knew if we could get it to four going to the fourth quarter, we’d have a chance,” Conroy said. “Then (Ray) knocked down that 3-pointer, and it put us in a little different mindset.”
The Eagles continued to battle in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t find a way to cut the margin closer than four. With HHCA forced to foul in the final 2 minutes, the Warriors also knocked down a half-dozen free throws.
“We hustled. Things just didn’t go our way,” Conroy said. “We just had to dig ourselves out of a hole to get back into it.”
Though Spartanburg Christian switched between box-and-one and triangle-and-two defenses for most of the game, Conroy didn’t think that was the cause of the Eagles’ cold shooting.
“We missed a couple of short jumpers that we usually knock down,” the coach said. “I don’t know if it was adrenaline or nerves. It was a very uncharacteristic first half for us.”