By Eric Ellison
SUMTER — Beaufort Academy’s girls hung on for a quarterfinal win in the SCISA 2A playoffs Monday, upsetting last year’s state runner-up Spartanburg Christian to advance to the semifinals.
The Eagles used a hot start on both ends of the floor en route to a 46-42 victory over the top-seeded Warriors at the Sumter Civic Center.
BA spread the wealth well, having eight of their 13 players etch their name in the scoring column, and the balanced effort helped overcome SCA’s strong defensive effort to slow down Eagles star Mike’Ala Washington.
Washington scored 10 — about half her season average — but her teammates picked up the slack. Senior Shanese Bostick poured in 14 points, and Tahleea Heyward put up 11 to power BA to the upset.
Heyward scored the first six points of the Eagles’ 10-0 run to open the game. BA used a smothering full-court press to force turnovers that led to easy points on the other end. The Eagles used the stifling pressure to go on a 17-5 run in the opening seven minutes and led 17-7 at the end of the quarter.
It was more of the same to start the second. Washington started out of the gate with a layup and two assists to Bostick, who made a wide open 3-pointer and knocked down a jumper to push the lead to 24-9 out of the gate. The two teams traded blows from that point, leading to a 31-19 halftime lead for BA.
The Warriors made a comeback in the third quarter, winning it by a 17-6 mark to pull within one of the Eagles. Spartanburg Christian opened the fourth with a bucket to take its first lead at 38-37, but that was the only time they were on top.
Bostick hit a clutch 3-pointer to end the Warriors’ 19-4 run and regain the lead for BA. The Eagles withstood each push the Warriors threw at them from that point on, winning the final frame 9-6 and punching their ticket for the SCISA 2A final four.
BA (14-8, 73) plays Palmetto Christian on Thursday in the SCISA 2A semifinals. PCA defeated BA 49-37 in a neutral-site matchup Dec. 28.
Depleted BA boys can’t hang with top-seeded Dillon
A short-handed Beaufort Academy boys squad was no match for SCISA 2A power Dillon Christian in the first round of the playoffs Saturday, falling 72-39 to the top-seeded Warriors at Wilson Hall in Sumter.
Despite playing without senior stars Ben VanHise and Elijah Fess due to injury, the Eagles hung in for a quarter, trailing 14-10 after eight minutes thanks to five first-quarter points from Malacai Rodriguez.
But BA’s depleted depth coupled with an outstanding defensive effort from the Warriors broke the game open in the second. The Eagles managed only five points in the quarter as Dillon Christian opened a 33-15 halftime advantage and cruised to the finish line.
Rodriguez finished with a team-high nine points, but the Eagles’ next generation of stars contributed, as freshman Ben Frey and Sully Gay and added eight points each to match sophomore 3-point specialist Timmy Horgan, who drained a pair of triples in his varsity debut after missing the past year with a torn ACL.
BA didn’t have an answer for DCS stars Colby Thorndyke and Weston Glasgow, who combined for 32 points. Thorndyke hit two threes and went 3-for-3 at the line in an efficient performance, scoring seven of his 17 in the first quarter, while Glasgow heated up in the fourth quarter to score 11 of his 15.
The Eagles graduate seven seniors, including three who have already signed to play at the next level, but they also return a strong nucleus led by Frey and Gay, who will be joined by several players from a strong JV program next season.
Photo by Eric Ellison