Beaufort Academy takes down Pee Dee in OT to reach semis 


Tahleea Heyward carried the load on offense with 22 points, including five in overtime, and senior Mary Hanna Hiers knocked down the game-winner in the extra period to send Beaufort Academy girls basketball into the SCISA 2A semifinals with a 51-48 overtime win over Pee Dee Academy on Monday at the Sumter Civic Center. 

The Eagles got off to a great start behind a pair of early buckets apiece from Heyward and Hiers and led by six after the first quarter, but Pee Dee’s Ashley Martin heated up in the second scored 10 of the team’s 12 points in the period to draw even at 18 at the break. 

Heyward poured in eight of her game-high 22 in the third — all from the field — and BA inched ahead by a bucket going to the fourth, setting up a back-and-forth battle to the final whistle. Then the junior went to work at the stripe, repeatedly earning trips to the foul line to help BA keep pace and get the Eagles to overtime. 

It was more of the same in the extra session, as Heyward went 5-for-5 from the line and Hiers knocked down the go-ahead jumper from the right baseline to push BA into the final four. 

Mike’Ala Washington added 11 points and Hiers scored 10 to complement Heyward’s big night. 

“So proud of this team,” BA coach Andrew Ienuso said. “We never stopped fighting, we never gave up. We showed grit and resilience tonight. Those kids battled for this win tonight. So proud of Mary Hanna. Big shot from our senior leader.”

BA reached the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 57-46 victory over Spartanburg Day in the first round Friday in Sumter as Washington dropped 31 points and Heyward added 17 to lead the way.

Washington lit it up at the offensive end, while Heyward had a terrific night on both ends of the court and Kamirah Freeman added eight points for the Eagles.

BA (19-6) will face Orangeburg Prep (19-2) in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sumter Civic Center with the winner taking on Hilton Head Christian Academy or Palmetto Christian Academy in the state title game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Sumter.

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