Cardinal Newman held on to its two-game lead in the loss column in SCISA Region 2-3A boys basketball on Tuesday night thanks to a 63-49 win over Hammond at home.
The Cardinals (16-5, 7-1) can wrap up the region championship with a win Friday at Heathwood Hall. If CN stumbles against the second-place Highlanders, a win Saturday in Greenville vs. St. Joseph’s will be required to make it official.
Jake Motto led a parade of 12 CN players in the final box score with 20 points. Motto entered the contest averaging 16.0 points and 13.4 rebounds a game for the Cards. Edward Dannelly, was was sporting a 5.8 point average, was the only other CN man in double figures with 12 points.
Heathwood Hall (19-7, 6-4) stayed in the hunt by scoring a 62-57 overtime win at home against improved Augusta Christian, even though HH sophomore star Corey Littlejohn was sitting out with an injury. The visiting Lions had the last shot in regulation, but the Highlanders defense did not permit an open shot. In the extra session, four free throws by Joey English was key for the Highlanders.
Mac Whalen picked up the slack with Littlejohn out of action, scoring 23 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and five steals. Joseph James and English also stepped it up. James had 13 points and eight rebounds, while English chipped in six points and 10 boards. Morgan Whalen finished with eight points, six rebounds and three steals.
In Tuesday girls action, surging Hammond topped Cardinal Newman 43-37 and Heathwood Hall handed Augusta Christian its first region loss, 55-51.
Hammond (8-14-5-4) picked up its five win in the last six games and completed a season sweep of the Cardinals. The Skyhawks now share third place with Cardinal Newman, and have the tie-breaking edge. Sopphomores Elaine Epting (14 points) and Kaki Smith (13) and senior Mason Castles (10) paced Hammond. CN’s Molly Rainwater shared game scoring honors with Epting.
Heathwood Hall (12-13, 6-3) didn’t change the region championship picture – AC clinched the title last Friday. However, the Highlanders will take the quality win, and hope to build on the momentum leading up to the start of the SCISA playoffs. Seniors Kristen Dickerson and Arayael Brandner teamed up for 44 points as HH averaged 63-49 first-half loss to the Lions in Augusta. Dickerson wished a game-high 25 points and Brandner tossed in 19.