Whale Branch girls, star Barnwell earn preseason accolades 

8 mins read


Four Lowcounty area hoops teams earned spots in the Preseason Top 10, and one Lowcountry standout was tabbed as one of the top five seniors in her classification by the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association on Monday. 

The Whale Branch girls will begin the season ranked sixth in Class 1A, as they return star guard Kynew Barnwell, who was picked as one of the top five seniors in Class 1A. The Warriors went 10-0 in regular-season play last season before being stunned by Lamar in the opening round of the playoffs. 

Barnwell was an All-State selection a year ago, averaging a Lowcountry-best 20.9 points and hitting 2.3 three-pointers per contest. The Warriors also return standout center Erin Rivers but will have to replace All-State forward Zhani Thompson and defensive whiz Jazmin Diaz. 

Bluffton’s girls are ranked seventh in Class 4A in the preseason, largely on the strength of an outstanding backcourt. Sophomore guards Tacoya Heyward and Katie Rodney return for the Bobcats, along with classmate Madi Washington in the post, but they have several key players to replace off last year’s 11-3 squad that fell to Myrtle Beach in the first round of the postseason. 

A pair of Lowcountry squads cracked the top 10 in the Class 4A boys poll, with a veteran Beaufort High team ranked ninth, one spot ahead of 2020-21 state runner-up Hilton Head High. 

The Eagles return a terrific trio in the frontcourt with James and Michael Dennison back along with star Zyrin Odom, who earned a spot on the All-Lowco First Team with nine points and 10.2 rebounds per game a year ago. 

The Seahawks lost their top three scorers from a year ago, including All-State pick and Lowco Player of the Year Will McCracken and big man Sam Summa, but they return point guard Alex Smith and football star Jaylen Sneed along with a number of players who will have to take on larger roles. 

2021-22 SCBCA Preseason Rankings & Awards 

SCBCA Elite Boys 

Jordan Butler, Christ Church 

Noah Clowney, Dorman 

Zachary Davis, Denmark-Olar 

Gregory Jackson, Ridge View 

Cam Scott, Lexington 

SCBCA Elite Girls 

Talaysia Cooper, East Clarendon 

Joyce Edwards, Camden 

MiLaysia Fulwiley, Keenan 

Jada Jones, Rock Hill 

McCall King, Christ Church 

Anala Nelson, Lower Richland 

Jessica Woods, Westwood 

Shardasia Zeigler, Orangeburg-Wilkinson 

5A Boys Preseason Top 10 

1. Ridge View 

2. Dorman 

3. Dutch Fork 

4. Riverside 

5. Goose Creek 

6. Clover 

7. Mauldin 

8. Fort Dorchester 

9. Conway 

10. Byrnes 

Top 5 Boys 5A Seniors 

Lawrence Bartee, Clover 

Houston Jones, Dutch Fork 

Jonah Nesmith, Carolina Forest 

Jordyn Surratt, Dorman 

Isaiah Williams, Blythewood 

5A Girls Preseason Top 10 

1. Sumter 

2. Rock Hill 

3. JL Mann 

4. Wando 

5. Dorman 

6. Lexington 

7. Woodmont 

8. West Ashley 

9. Summerville 

10. Byrnes 

5A Girls Top 5 Seniors 

Jasmine Grant, Summerville 

Jasmine Jenkins, Cane Bay 

Kristen Jenkins, West Ashley 

Savannah Porter, Byrnes 

Alexis Sexton, Lexington 

Dylan Silber, Wando -inj- 

4A Boys Preseason Top 10 

1. South Pointe 

2. Greenville 

3. Irmo 

4. West Florence 

5. Hartsville 

6. Travelers Rest 

7. North Augusta 

8. AC Flora 

9. Beaufort 

10. Hilton Head 

Top 5 Boys 4A Seniors 

Jacob Brown, Travelers Rest 

Bryson Felder, Westwood 

Tristan Lexander, Hartsville 

Quan Peterson, South Pointe 

Dylan Williams, Irmo 

4A Girls Preseason Top 10 

1. Westside 

2. North Augusta 

3. Westwood 

4. South Pointe 

5. AC Flora 

6. Catawba Ridge 

7. Bluffton 

8. Eastside 

10. North Myrtle Beach 

4A Girls Top 5 Seniors 

Sommer Joseph, Darlington 

Najah Lane, South Pointe 

Destiny Middleton, Westside 

Imani Williams, Dreher 

Albany Wilson, South Florence 

3A Boys Preseason Top 10 

1. Orangeburg-Wilkinson 

2. Keenan 

3. Seneca 

4. Dillon 

5. Berea 

6. Oceanside 

7. Blue Ridge 

8. Daniel 

9. Lake City 

10. Brookland-Cayce 

3A Boys Top 5 Seniors 

Justin Bailey, Blue Ridge 

Demarco Bethea, Dillon 

EJ Evett, Seneca 

Jordan Simpson, Orangeburg- Wilkinson 

Bobby Taylor, Daniel 

3A Girls Preseason Top 10 

1. Keenan 

2. Orangeburg-Wilkinson 

3. Camden 

4. Blue Ridge 

5. Southside 

6. Emerald 

7. Wren 

8. Clinton 

9. Bishop England 

10. Daniel 

3A Girls Top 5 Seniors 

Tinique Austin, Clinton 

Deondra Darby, Orangeburg- Wilkinson 

Kara Harrison, Powdersville 

Quadaija Langley, Blue Ridge 

Somarian Webb, Pendleton 

2A Boys Preseason Top 10 

1. Christ Church 

2. Gray Collegiate 

3. York Prep 

4. Wade Hampton 

5. Andrew Jackson 

6. Landrum 

7. Phillip Simmons 

8. Abbeville 

9. Woodland 

10. Chesnee 

2A Boys Top 5 Seniors 

Russell Branch, Barnwell 

Kory Davis, York Prep 

Miles Haight, Phillip Simmons 

Ca’Darrius Sowell, Andrew Jackson 

Isaiah Washington, Landrum 

2A Girls Preseason Top 10 

1. Blacksburg 

2. Christ Church 

3. Silver Bluff 

4. Phillip Simmons 

5. Andrew Jackson 

6. Gray Collegiate 

7. Saluda 

8. Latta 

9. Marion 

10. Barnwell 

2A Girls Top 5 Seniors 

Mya Carroll, Saluda 

Madeline Duwe, Christ Church 

Emma Johnson, Crescent 

Brie Smith, Chesnee 

TyTy Tate, Blacksburg 

1A Boys Preseason Top 10 

1. Southside Christian 

2. Scott’s Branch 

3. Calhoun County 

4. Great Falls 

5. Hannah-Pamplico 

6. Carvers Bay 

7. Denmark-Olar 

8. CA Johnson 

9. CE Murray 

10. Baptist Hill 

1A Boys Top 5 Seniors 

Jace Avant, Johnsonville 

Russell Brunson, Calhoun County 

Tali Coleman, Great Falls 

Cyrus Ellison, Hannah Pamplico 

Zakee Rendell, Scott’s Branch 

1A Girls Preseason Top 10 

1. Military Magnet 

2. High Point Academy 

3. East Clarendon 

4. Denmark-Olar 

5. Lake View 

6. Whale Branch 

7. Southside Christian 

8. McBee 

9. Lamar 

10. Cross 

1A Girls Top 5 Seniors 

Kynew Barnwell, Whale Branch 

Jasmine Cade, Calhoun Falls 

Taia Garris, Cross 

Jaylin Peterson, McBee 

Ja’Niya Waters, Lake View 

Above: Whale Branch senior guard Kynew Barnwell. Photo by Todd Stowe. 

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