Heathwood Hall completed a three-game season sweep of Wilson Hall on Tuesday night, rolling by the Barons 64-44 in a SCISA girls basketball state tournament quarterfinal game at the Sumter Civic Center.
The Highlanders (21-5) came up big in the fourth quarter, going on a 29-11 tear to seal the deal. The most impressive aspect of the clinching surge was a 15-for-20 performance at the free throw line.
Freshman A’ja Wilson was outstanding, ringing up 39 points and 10 rebounds, not to mention blocking seven Barons shots. The smooth 6-foot-3 center accounted for 17 of Heathwood’s fourth-quarter points and went 9-for-12 from the line in the final eight minutes.
John O’Cain’s team advances to the semifinal round and a 6:30 p.m. date with Pinewood Prep. The teams split two meetings early in the season with each team winning at home. The neutral court clash will be the tie breaker. The Highlanders are looking to return to the state championship game for the first time since 2008 when Asia Dozier was an eight-grade varsity star before transferring to Spring Valley.
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Pinewood Prep (27-4) thrashed Laurence Manning Academy 76-29 on Tuesday. The Panthers raced to a 12-0 lead at the outset and had a whopping 32-4 edge by the end of the first quarter.
Heathwood Hall is riding a nine-game winning streak since falling to defending state champion Hilton Head Prep on Jan. 19.