Eau Claire hosts Lee Central in a key Region 4-2A girls basketball game on Tuesday, but there is more than just first place on the line.
The host Shamrocks stand at 14-2 overall, 3-0 in region play and are ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. The Stallions (9-7, 3-0), are ranked No. 5, but have one other notable item on the agenda. Coach Dorothy Fortune’s program is in the midst of a nine-year, 59-game region winning streak. Lee Central, in fact, has never lost a region game since the program debuted in the 2000-01 season. The new open that school year as a result of the consolidation of Bishopville and Mt. Pleasant high schools.
Eau Claire, in its first season at the Class 2A level, has lost only to Midlands powerhouse Lower Richland to date. The Shamrocks have blitzed Andrew Jackson, Columbia and Central in their first three 2A region games. Sophomore guard Amelia Carrie has been the top EC scorer in early region action, averaging 14 points a game. Centers Janae Stevenson and Eboni Ross are averaging 9.7 and 9.3 points, respectively.
The big gun for Lee Central is senior point guard Whitley Smith, a five-year starter who is averaging 16 and 5 assists a game, while teammate Genevieve Hammet is averaging 13.5 points and 2.8 steals. Smith put on a show in a come-from-behind 47-43 win over defending region and state champion Keenan on Friday night, scoring 15 of her 28 points in the second half as the Stallions erased a nine-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter in less than five and a half minutes.