Barnwell girls collide with Blackville-Hilda
The Barnwell High and Blackville-Hilda High girls varsity basketball game turned into a one-sided affair for the most part in Friday’s season opener in the Hawks’ Nest.
Barnwell High built a 16-point lead after the end of three quarters, but as methodically as the team built that advantage, Blackville-Hilda High started chipping away at it.
By late fourth quarter, Blackville-Hilda High had whittled the lead to 44-39 with 1:18 left to play.
However, in the end, it was the Lady Warhorses who were able to hold off a scrappy Lady Hawks squad for a 47-39 victory.
Barnwell High coach William Hammonds said the team played well, but got a little complacent toward the end.
“I was really pleased with how we controlled the tempo through the first three quarters. However, after getting out to the big lead, we got a little careless with the ball and started making mistakes down the stretch. We have to learn to play hard all the way through to be a truly good team,” Hammonds said.
Blackville-Hilda High coach Coretta Richmond said her team was its own worst enemy after missing 11 of 16 free throws.
“We didn’t match their intensity at the start of the game. For some reason our focus wasn’t there and it showed in our performance,” Richmond said. “Defensively, we didn’t rebound well and we gave up too many second chance shots.”
It was a tough start for Richmond and her team. The Lady Hawks missed 10 of their first 12 shots and scored only seven points in the opening quarter.
Meanwhile, the Lady Warhorses had no such problems putting the ball in the basket. For the team, Anajae James led the way with six first-quarter points and Adriana Bell added four points as the Lady Warhorses opened an early 16-7 advantage.
In the second quarter, the Lady Warhorses kept their feet on the gas pedal. This time, Maleah Williams, Rachel Creech, Camryn Holloway and Kyra Shuler all scored baskets in transition to extend the lead to 26-14 with 1:29 left in the first half.
“I thought we did a good job of creating turnovers and converting them into fast break points,” Hammonds said.
In the third quarter, the Lady Warhorses continued to dominate the Lady Hawks. On a two-on-one break, Maleah Williams dribbled past two defenders and scored on a layup. Moments later, James went baseline and scored on a short jumper for a 36-22 lead with 2:29 left in the quarter.
Trailing by as much as 16 points, the Lady Hawks began to claw back midway in the fourth quarter.
Marlayna Singleton got the troops going, scoring on back-to-back buckets. After a putback by Jada Smalls, Singleton came up with a steal and found Desiree James in transition for a layin to cut the lead to 42-34 with 3:21 left to play.
With 1:29 left in the game, the Lady Hawks continued to cut into the deficit. This time, Singleton grabbed a defensive rebound and dribbled the length of the court for another basket to narrow the lead 44-39.
Maleah Williams, however, quickly put a halt to the Lady Hawks’ late surge.
Williams scored on a jumper and came up with two steals in the final 50 seconds to preserve the win.
“We played better at the end, but we had dug too big of a hole for ourselves. If we had played a little better in the first half, the game would have been a lot closer at the end,” Richmond said.
For the game, Maleah Williams recorded a double-double with 11 points, 10 steals and six assists. Anajae James had 13 points and six rebounds. Creech and Bell each added six points each.
The Lady Hawks were led by Singleton, who had a game-high 16 points and 12 rebounds. Smalls finished with six points and six rebounds and James added 11 points and nine rebounds.