By Wes Kerr
Miley Ray hit the big milestone on her own Senior Night, but the Beaufort High girls stole the show, coming through with a massive 34-30 road win over Hilton Head High on Friday to move into a tie for second place in Region 7-4A.
“We knew this was going to be a dogfight going in, and we are very proud of our girls playing hard all four quarters,” Beaufort assistant coach Timothy Summers said. “We always teach them to play until the final buzzer and they did that tonight.”
The first quarter featured Hilton Head’s Janiya Ferebee and Beaufort’s Layla Warren going head to head, as the two players wearing No. 4 scored 17 of 19 total points in the opening frame. Both had success driving to the rim and hitting the three.
After the close first, Ray charged the Seahawks ahead, scoring all 11 of her team’s points in the second quarter, including a pretty layup that put her over the 1,000-point mark for her career. The team ran on the court to celebrate and presented her with a plaque to commemorate the milestone. Ray kept on hitting shots, and the defense fed off of her offensive success to build a 20-17 lead at halftime.
“It was a great honor for Miley,” Seahawks coach Sean Rochester said. “She’s the first kid in the gym every day, she’ll be there early tomorrow, and I’m glad she was recognized in front of our home crowd on senior night.”
However, the Eagles came back from the locker room and played a near flawless defensive third quarter, giving up a single three-point basket while Sequoia Smalls took advantage of some trips to the foul line and then hit a spectacular buzzer beater to bring Beaufort ahead by one.
“We wanted to slow Miley down because she can kill you with those threes,” Summers said. “Sequoia’s one of our key shooters, and she made an important one to give us the lead going into the fourth.”
The Hilton Head offense continued to sputter and committed a variety of fundamental mistakes down the stretch, and Warren made six free throws late to grab and maintain the lead. The Seahawks nearly tied it with just seconds left, but Ferebee’s three went in and out. After a quick foul, Warren scored her 19th and final point to go up by four and ice the game.
“It was an awesome win,” Warren said. “The girls came in here ready to play tonight. We came in here wanting and needing to win. Before I shot the free throws I was just thinking that I was going to make them.”
Smalls put up 11, meaning that 30 of Beaufort’s 34 came from just two players. Ray, on an incredibly emotional night, scored 16 in her final regular season game at the Nest. Ferebee added seven.
The Seahawks will need to beat Colleton County Tuesday night and hope the tiebreakers finish in their favor to grab a playoff spot.
“The story of our season has been little plays in these tight games,” Rochester said. “We’ve had so many games where making a few more free throws, getting a few more rebounds, and finishing a few more open looks changes the outcome.”
Beaufort High’s Sequoia Smalls dribbles around the perimeter, looking for an opening in the Hilton Head High defense. Smalls scored 11 points in the Eagles’ 34-30 road win. Photo by MB Lyons
Photos by MB Lyons