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Hilton Head Christian High School

Hilton Head Christian Baseball Rebuilding Under Matt Smith,

HHCA Girls basketball Team Wins AA Championship, See That Story Of Front Of Issue

From Staff Reports

Hilton Head—While the Hilton Head Christian girls basketball team was busy winning the AA state championship (see story at front of this issue) at the Sumter Civic Center, Matt Smith and the Eagles baseball team were outside on the baseball field working hard at improving on last year’s 5-14 record.

 “Our strength is our work ethic and ability o be coached up,” said Coach Smith before the season. “Our pitching depth is a real key to our potential success this season. We do not return a lot of experience, so how quickly our younger players develop will be the gauge for our success this season.”

The team hopes will be built around three returning starters. They are senior shortstop Daniel Harrington who has a solid glove and he batted .442 last year with 13 stolen bases. Sophomore center fielder Eli Minton returns, and he has good range in the outfield. Minton had 10 RBI’s and 8 stolen bases last season. The third returnee is junior pitcher/first baseman Jacob Eaddy who has the most innings pitched among all returning hurlers.

Junior catcher Michael Zoodsma (6-4, 210) is new to the program and he can hit for power and possesses a strong arm to second. Freshman Ben Eaddy (R-R) will get some innings on the mound and could see action at second base. Junior Brice Minton (6-0, 185) enters the season as a day one starter on the bump and he will add depth to the starting rotation.

Coach Smith describes 8th graders Blaire McClure, a shortstop/outfielder and Keene Reese, a middle infielder as “fundamentally sound” players. Ne of the best athletes on the team is senior outfielder Floyd Hargrove. Camden Toomer is a sophomore third baseman with a solid glove and sophomore designated hitter JT Boyd is considered a good contact hitter. One of the quickest players on the team is freshman outfielder Matthew Bullard.

The team struggled in their season opener with Battery Creek in late February suffering a 15-0 loss.

 

 

Hilton Head Christian Builds 19 Point Lead In AA SCISA Girl’s Title Game, Then Barely Survives A Second Half Spartanburg Christian Rally To Win 53-51 With The Warriors Missing Two Shots At The Buzzer

By Billy Baker

Publisher

SumterHilton Head Christian (29-2) enjoyed a 34-19 lead at the half over the Spartanburg Christian girls in the AA SCISA basketball finals on February, 29 at the Sumter Civic Center but second half foul trouble gave the Warriors an opportunity to make it a game and HHCA probably feels fortunate to have won, 53-51 on February, 29th at the Sumter Civic Center.

It was HHCA’s third SCISA AA girls title since 2015.

“I am glad this one is over and I felt like we played very well in the first half but when you play the type of pressure defense that we play you are going to get into foul trouble and that is what happened to us,” said head HHCA coach Kenny Conroy. “We got in foul trouble against Oakbrook (Prep) the other night and I had hoped that game would teach us a lesson and get to play a little smarter. Someone like Brielle (McCarthy) who plays so hard, and she is the glue of our team; so when she got in foul trouble in the first half and then we had to sit her down some in the third quarter we knew we would be challenged because she is our best ball handler.

“This was one of those games we could feel slipping away and as a coach there is not a whole lot you can do in that situation,’ said Coach Conroy. “We called that one time out late in the game and I just challenged them to dig in and find a way to pull the game out from inside you. I reminded them that we had played teams like Beech, Calvary twice, Savannah Christian, and Country Day; all the power house teams in Savannah and you were successful against all of them.

“I told them we are now playing Spartanburg Christian Academy and that we are a great team and it was time for us to play the same way we had played against Calvary and all those good teams in Savannah and from that time-out we played much better,” said Coach Conroy. “The refs were great and they let both teams play. You play girls basketball below the rim and you have to run plays and you have to execute and you have to count on people. I am telling you the last six seconds of the game when that ball was bouncing around and they got two looks at the basket I was just praying we could hang on and win. It was a relief when those shots missed.”

Coach Conroy called junior guard Dior Shelton the best player in SCISA AA basketball. “She stepped up in the first half just as she has all year long and her play was not a one-time thing,” said Coach Conroy. “She was also the best player in our region. She is a player I can count on to get the job done in pressure situations.”

Coach Conroy talked about the three-point shot of the game made by Skylar Smith with 24.5 seconds to play and his team down by two. “I knew as soon as it left her hand it was in,” said Coach Conroy. “She is a three- point set shooter and she made a similar shot against Oakbrook that gave us a lead also. Her shot was the shot of the game.”

HHCA led in the contest 39-21 with 6:25 left in the third period. Over the next six minutes SC outscored the Eagles 12-0 and trailed 39-33 with around 20 seconds left in the period. HHCA’s Dior Shelton scored on a layup with 11 seconds left to put her team up 41-33 but SC junior McKenzie Spivey nailed a long range three at the buzzer to make it 41-36 starting the final period. In the third period SC outscored HHCA 22-7.

SC began the final quarter with a quick 10 second score on a baseline drive by senior guard Kayla Camacho that made it 41-38 then one possession later a deep three from the corner by Sam Toney tied the score at the 7:15 mark. Then after a steal and lay-up by Sam Arp, with an assist from Camacho, the Warriors took their first lead at 43-41 with around 6:15 left in the final period.

Senior Jasmine Campbell of HHCA tied the game at 43 with 6:09 left on a strong inside basket. With 5:50 left Campbell drew her 4th foul guarding Chesley Eison who went to the line and made two free throws to put SC up 45-43. At the 5:26 mark of the game Campbell scored inside to tie the score at 45.

SC missed a one-on-one opportunity with 5:18 left and both teams traded turnovers until the 3:42 mark when Camacho scored from short range to put SC back up 47-45. Then HHCA’s big break came at the 2:29 mark when Abby Peduzzi made the front end of a one-an-one to trail 47-46 but Campbell rebounded the missed shot and scored on a layup to put the Eagles up 48-47 with 1:54 left in the game.

Then at the 1:12 mark Camacho scored on a driving lay-up to put SC up 49-48. With 1:01 Campbell made one of two free throws to tie the game at 49. Then with 49 seconds left Camacho got a rebound and went to coast to coast scoring a lay-up and making it 51-49 in favor of SC.

Then Skylar Smith of HHCA would have her “sophomore moment” of all time as she stared down a three-point shot opportunity when left open deep off the left elbow from the top of the key. In set shot style she launched a three ball that went high in the air like a balloon slipping from your hand at a July 4th picnic. When the ball swished through the net to put the Eagles up 52-51 the fans following HHCA went just about berserk with joy and relief from the pent-up emotions the final quarter of the ebb and flow the game had brought to them.

Then with 23.6 seconds left SC missed a double bonus free throw opportunity and HHCA got the rebound and Shelton was fouled with 19.9 seconds left making one free throw to put her team up 53-51.

SC got the rebound on the missed free throw after Shelton connected on the front end. The Warriors came down the court and had two shots at the tying the score as they elected to attack in the paint. One shot careened off the rim and then the final shot was partially blocked with no chance of being good as the buzzer sounded.

Camacho got knocked to the floor hard fouling a HHCA player in the final minute of the game and had to be assisted to the training table set up in the arena. The talented guard ended up with 20 points. Arp added 11 points and senior guard Chelsey Eison contributed 9 points.

Head Spartanburg Christian coach Wendy Duke told the HSSR after the game, “We opened up our offense a little more to start the second half because we realized we needed to create more open space to get more driving lanes for Kayla (Camacho) to attack and the adjustment worked out very well,” said Coach Duke. “We drew up some new plays and we had to find a way to spread out their defense some and just let Kayla create moves to the basket and it worked out better for us in the second half.

“In the first half we came out nervous and by halftime we were embarrassed about how bad we played down like 15 points,” said Coach Duke. “We challenged ourselves to play better and to give maximum effort. Kayla has become such a good leader on the court for us this year and she is always encouraging her teammates. Sam toney transferred in last year and she is a good shooter and I thought Sam Arp did a real good job guarding their double “O” (Jasmine Campbell.

“We knew this was going to a physical game and we were prepared for that,” said Coach Duke. “I could not be more prouder of the effort our team gave them and I am very proud of all of them.”

During the game Coach Duke looked at a bible verse she had scribbled onto one of her palms that read: “Be still and know that I am God.”

HHCA was led by Shelton with 20 points. Campbell and Abby Peduzzi each added 10 points for the winners.

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