Barnwell girls rally past AFHS

  • Octavia Sexton, right, of Barnwell High looks to trap Shateal McMillian of AFHS.

The Barnwell High varsity girls came from behind to beat Allendale-Fairfax High 42-35 Friday, Jan. 13 in Allendale.

At haltime, the Allendale-Fairfax High Lady Tigers held a 24-16 lead.

Then Barnwell High responded with a 15-2 third-quarter run to erase an eight point halftime deficit.

Anajae James, who finished with 13 points, highlighted the Lady Warhorses as they outscored the Lady Tigers 26-11 in the second half.

With the win, Barnwell High improves to 7-2 overall and 2-1 in region play.

Barnwell High coach William Hammond said they came on after a sluggish first half.

“We fell behind at halftime, but we never panicked,” Hammond said. “I just told my players there was a lot of basketball left to be played. We made adjustments defensively and offensively. We started making better decisions in transition.”

The Lady Tigers, who were missing their top offensive player K’Osjah Hall, leaned on Shateal McMillan and Shaniyah Hammond for offense. The duo did a solid job accounting for 56.7 percent of the team’s scoring.

McMillan led the way with 11 points, 12 steals and six assists. Hammond added 10 points, six rebounds and three steals.

“After starting the game slow, we picked up our tempo and played really well in the second quarter,” Allendale-Fairfax High coach Austin Jeffries said. “In the second half, we had decent shots in the paint, but couldn’t get anything to go in the basket.”

The first half was the tale of two quarters. In the opening quarter, the Lady Warhorses dominated play behind the scoring of Anajae James and Rachael Creech. James scored on two putbacks in the paint and Creech rattled in a three-pointer to put the team ahead 12-6.

The second quarter, however, saw a swing in momentum as the Lady Tigers clawed back. The Lady Tigers shot 52 percent from the field as they outscored the Lady Warhorses 16-4 for a 22-16 lead with 31 seconds left in the first half.

The Lady Tigers got contributions throughout the lineup during the scoring run with Amber Ferguson, N’Kosha Roberts, Shaniyah Hammond, Shateal McMillan and Kiara Moore all hitting layups in transition.

After a strong run by the Lady Tigers to close out the first half, the script flipped in the second half.

At the start of the second half, the Lady Warhorses were boosted by a strong defensive effort. BHS held AFHS to just 8.2 percent shooting while forcing 14 turnovers. Those takeaways translated into 10 first break points.

The turnaround started with Dorion Carter, Adriana Bell and Kyra Shuler all scoring baskets in the paint to cut the lead to 24-22.

Moments later, the Lady Warhorses continued to surge. On a two-on-one fast break, Shuler threaded a pass to Anajae James, who finished with a layup. Two possessions later, Dorian Carter went baseline and scored on a jumper to put the team ahead 29-26 with 38 seconds left in the third quarter.

Midway in the fourth quarter, the Lady Warhorses led 35-26, but the Lady Tigers attempted a late comeback.

For the team, Shateal McMillan scored on two jumpers and Dravion Wright converted on two free throws to narrow the lead to 36-31 with 2:42 left to play.

The Lady Warhorses, however, held on late behind baskets from Dorian Carter, Rachael Creech and Anajae James.

Rounding out the scoring for Barnwell High included Creech with nine points and seven assists. Bell finished with six points and eight steals. Shuler had six points and eight rebounds.