There is plenty to see for Midlands fans of SCISA basketball on Friday at the Sumter Civic Center when all four Class 3A semifinal games feature area teams.
Hammond girls vs. Pinewood Prep, 3:30 p.m.
Game notes: Hammond (16-6) advanced to the semifinals for the first time in many years by whipping Wilson Hall 48-20 on Tuesday. The Skyhawks haven’t claimed an independent school championship in 20 years ... Pinewood Prep (20-4) returns four starters off last season’s surprise championship team, including Maria Corella who tallied the 1,000th point of her career in the Panthers’ regular season finale last week, Briana Boyd (12.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Jennifer Rhodes (15.3 ppg). The once lowly program has won two SCISA titles in a row and four in the last five seasons under coach Nancy Beatty.
Heathwood Hall girls vs. Northwood Academy, 6:30 p.m.
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Game notes: Heathwood Hall (19-7) is led by A’ja Wilson who is averaging 28.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 5.5 blocks, 3.3 assists and 3.2 steals per game. But the 6-foot-5 junior stars has yet to help the Highlanders win a state championship. Heathwood was eliminated in the semifinals last season after falling in the 2011 title game. Wilson warned to the task with 35 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks and six steals in the Highlanders 68-27 quarterfinals win over Ben Lippen on Tuesday Northwood Academy (26-4) has a junior star of its own in Amber Campbell, who is averaging 31.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 5.4 steals. The Chargers, who lost to Pinewood Prep in the finals a year ago, beat Heathwood Hall 69-59 on Jan. 19 in a game that saw Wilson and Campbell score 30 points.
Cardinal Newman boys vs. Porter-Gaud, 5 p.m.
Game notes: It’s the last shot at glory for Austin Ajukwa and his fellow senior players at Cardinal Newman. The Cards (16-10) have had a tough year with a spate of injuries and a challenging non-region schedule, but things have been going well of late. CN, which is as healthy as it’s been all season, has won four in a row and 10 of its last 12. The Clemson-bound Ajukwa is averaging 19.5 points and 6.0 rebounds ... Porter-Gaud (22-3) is shooting for its first SCISA championship since winning three in a row (2003-05) under coach Randy Clark, who is now an assistant at College of Charleston. K.J. James, a 6-foor-5 junior guard, leads the Cyclones with a 22.1 scoring average.
Hammond boys vs. Augusta Christian, 8 p.m.
Game notes: The teams are meeting for the third time. Hammond (21-4) swept the Augusta Christian in two Region 1-3A meetings, blowing out the Lions 64-47 in the final game of the regular season. The Skyhawks, who have not won a SCISA championship since 1999, are led by freshman Seventh Woods (19.2 ppg, 4.2 apg), sophomore Xavier McDaniel (12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and transfer junior Spencer Carlson (10.4 ppg) ... The Shyhawks pulled out a 46-44 win over archrival Heathwood Hall in the third meeting of the season in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Woods had a rough game with only seven points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field, but his three-point play with 15 seconds remaining provided the winning margin. McDaniel led the way with 16 points and senior Ken Krupa came off the bench to scored all 10 points in the fourth quarter (going 4-for-4 from the floor, 2-for-2 at the line) Augusta Christian (20-5) is making its first Final Four appearance since joining the SCISA ranks in 2004-05.