Whale Branch girls wallop top-ranked Eagles

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It’s rare to get a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in a regular-season region matchup. It’s even more uncommon for the top-ranked team to get blitzed.

Welcome to the Mack Attack.

Coach LaToya Mack’s Whale Branch girls hammered top-ranked Military Magnet 46-27 on the road Monday in a matchup of the top two teams in SCHSL Class 1A.

Kynew Barnwell scored 19 points, Zhani Thompson added 12, and Erin Rivers had nine for the Warriors, who led 14-9 after one quarter and opened it up by outscoring the Eagles 10-2 in the second quarter. 

Whale Branch again held Military Magnet to a single field goal in the third quarter, increasing the margin to 34-13 after three quarters before coasting to the finish.

“We played our game,” Mack said. “We knew from the beginning that Military Magnet was going to pressure us full court and try to speed up the game, but before we left the locker room I told the girls that they have to be in control by doing what we do best which is protect the basketball, take good shots, move the ball around and feed the post.” 

Thompson and Rivers dominated in the paint, and Layla Love also contributed four points in a monster effort from the Warriors’ frontcourt. 

“That was key for us tonight, getting the ball inside,” Mack said. “We wanted to limit Military Magnet’s possessions, and I believe we accomplished that goal.”

The Warriors (10-0, 5-0) wrap up the regular season at home against Charleston Math & Science on Wednesday. 

Warriors’ playoff hopes dashed with road loss

The late surge wasn’t enough for the Whale Branch boys this time. The Warriors dug a double-digit hole with a lackluster third quarter and couldn’t close the gap in a 53-44 loss at Military Magnet on Monday, ending Whale Branch’s playoff hopes.

Trevon Spillers scored 20 points and grabbed seven boards, and Jermaine Hartwell added 19 points and seven assists to lead the Eagles, who remain one of two undefeated teams in region play along with Baptist Hill. With two losses and only one game remaining, the Warriors can’t make up the ground to earn one of two playoff spots from Region 7-1A.

Whale Branch was within seven at halftime and in position for another second-half comeback, but the Warriors went ice-cold in the third quarter, managing only two fields goals as Military Magnet extended the lead to 40-28. The Warriors tried to make a run in the fourth but couldn’t close the gap.

Jaylen Reeves and AJ Singleton each scored 10 points, and Devonta Barnard added eight for the Warriors.

Whale Branch (6-4, 4-2) wraps up the season at home against Charleston Math & Science on Wednesday.