SUMTER — A’ja Wilson and Amber Campbell are two of the most storied players in South Carolina prep girls basketball history, but one all-time great is destined to retire without experiencing the joy of winning a state championship.
That is the storyline Saturday at the Sumter County Civic Center where Wilson and Heathwood Hall (22-4) square off against Campbell and Northwood Academy (28-5) and in the Class 3A SCISA championship game at 6:30 p.m.
Wilson scored 32 points in Heathwood Hall’s 76-33 semifinal win Friday over Hilton Head Christian.
“There’s not a lot that has to be said,” Highlanders coach John O’Cain said. “If we play well, we can win. If we don’t … It’s really as simple as that.”
Wilson’s latest haul puts the 6-foot-4 forward at 2,906 points for her career with a 24.6 per-game average in 118 varsity outings.
“We just want to keep doing what been good for us all season,” Wilson said. “There’s no reason to change anything now. We have to keep level heads, work hard, talk to each other. If we do that, we have a good chance to come out with a win.”
Victoria Dickerson and Gadson Lefft backed Wilson with 19 and 15 points, respectively.
Heathwood Hall’s best showing in the Wilson era was last season’s runner-up finish in the wake of three straight semifinal exits. Northwood has had three runner-up efforts with Campbell in the fold.
Campbell had 34 points in a semifinal romp against First Baptist. In the process, the Wake Forest-bound shooting guard became the third highest scorer in state girls basketball history with 4,132 points behind York’s Ivory Latta (4,319) and Wardlaw Academy’s Nancy Derrick (4,238).
The Chargers bagged their only SCISA title in 2003. The Highlanders have not won the crown since joining SCISA in 1997.
The Highlanders and Chargers met once during the regular season on Feb. 2 in Columbia. Heathwood emerged with a 80-77 home victory as Campbell and Wilson each tallied 44 points.