Lady Tigers, Devils face off in rematch

  • Wade Hampton High’s Carrie Freeman, left, and Khaaliyah Brown of Allendale-Fairfax High battle for position in Friday’s game in Hampton.

A week ago, the Allendale-Fairfax High girls varsity basketball team beat Wade Hampton High by 13 points in the Tigers’ Den.

On Friday night in Hampton, the Lady Tigers and Lady Red Devils squared off again.

This time, however, the final results were different. Wade Hampton High jumped on the Allendale-Fairfax High team early, then fended off a late rally by the Lady Tigers for a 50-43 victory.

Tied at 43-43 with 1:45 left to play, the Lady Red Devils took over the game behind the tough-to-defend Deja Smith-Gross.

Smith-Gross was “money” down the stretch. She broke the tie with a three-pointer, then scored moments later on a layin to put the team ahead 51-45 with 13.5 seconds left to play. Smith-Gross finished with a game-high 17 points and nine steals.

Wade Hampton High coach Seth Owens said the team made the plays in a close contest.

“I’m really proud of our girls. We knew it was going to be a tough game against Allendale-Fairfax. Defensively, we forced a lot of turnovers and, offensively, we were able to score a lot of points in the paint.”

Allendale-Fairfax High coach Austin Jeffries said his team had its chances.

“We missed too many shots in the paint and gave them too many second shot opportunities,” Jeffries said.

Early in the game, it was the Lady Tigers setting the tempo behind the shooting of Shaniyah Hammond and Khaaliyah Brown. Hammond scored four points in transition and Brown scored on a putback for an early 8-6 advantage.

Trailing 14-12 midway in the second quarter, the momentum started to swing in favor of the Lady Red Devils.

The Lady Red Devils took control in the paint with Abigail Fennell and Jaylin Lesane scoring on layins. Smith-Gross then found her range from the outside, scoring on a three-pointer for a 20-17 lead with 2:16 left in the first half.

For the Lady Red Devils, that trend continued into the third quarter with Fennell and Shia Kinard scoring baskets in the paint for a 26-21 lead.

Down by five points with 5:02 left in the third quarter, the Lady Tigers started to chip at the lead.

Shateal McMillian, who was held scoreless in the first half, started to make her presence known offensively. First, McMillian stole the ball and made a outlet pass to Hammond, who finished with a layup. After she had an assist to Brown for a layin, McMillian tied the game at 28-28 with a jumper with 3:28 left in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, the nip-and-tuck affair continued between the rivals with three ties and four lead changes.

Midway in the fourth quarter, the Lady Red Devils seemingly took control of the game with a 7-2 run to put them ahead 39-32.

The Lady Tigers, however, clawed back again. This time, Hammond led the charge with back-to-back baskets in transition. Moments later, Kiara Moore and Amber Ferguson added free throws to narrow the lead 41-39.

Two possessions later, the Lady Tigers drew even when McMillian drove the lane and scored a bucket to tie the game at 43-43.

After squandering their seven-point lead, the Lady Red Devils answered back, scoring the final seven points to close out the game.

For the Lady Tigers, Hammond was the top offensive player with 14 points, six steals and four rebounds. Brown had a good all-around game with nine points and eight rebounds. McMillian and Ferguson each added seven points.