Beating a team three times in one season is not always a sure thing.
Hammond found that to be bitterly true last season in the SCISA Class 3A state quarterfinals with a stunning loss to Augusta Christian – a team it swept during region play.
The Skyhawks made sure history did not repeat on Wednesday, scoring a 66-52 win against Midlands archrival Heathwood Hall at the Sumter Civic Center.
Hammond (24-4) moves on to a 5 p.m. semifinal date with Pinewood Prep on Friday.
“I may have had the loss to Augusta Christian on my mind some, but I don’t think the players gave it much thought,” Hammond coach Mark McClam said.
“We did what we planned to do. We came out aggressive, took it to them defensively. We moved the ball around well on offense and had good shot selection. It was a good, businesslike performance.”
As usual, Seventh Woods and Xavier McDaniel were in the starring roles for the Skyhawks.
Woods did not score in the first quarter, but ended up with a game-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds, six assists and five steals. The stellar junior point guard picked it up in the second quarter with 14 points, hitting five of his six field goal attempts (2-for-2 from 3-point range).
McDaniel, who has one last chance to play on a state championship team, rang up 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field and also contributed six boards and five steals.
Heathwood Hall, which finished 16-10, hung tough into the fourth quarter, when a three-point play by Josh Caldwell pulled the Highlanders within 50-44 with 5:41 remaining.
Hammond, however, went on an 11-1 run to up the advantage to 60-45 with 2:28 to go.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Heathwood coach Jeff Whalen said. “We’re a young team, and we struggled early in the season with injuries, but they kept hanging in like they did tonight against a very talented team. We need to get bigger and stronger in the offseason, but I’m excited about next season already.”
Caldwell led the Highlanders with 21 points. Alex Curtin, the only senior starter, tallied 12 points in his final game.