Irmo’s girls basketball team dominated defending SCISA champion Pinewood Prep 65-28 on Wednesday to lock up its second straight Midas Highlander Classic championship at Heathwood Hall.
Seniors Sarah Green and Brooke McCants capped an outstanding tournament performance by sharing game scoring honors in the title game with 18 points apiece. Green was named the tournament MVP, and McCants earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
The Yellow Jackets are on a roll after dropping two home-and-away series to defending Class 4A state champion Spring Valley and on-the-rise Ridge View early this month. That four-game skid left Irmo, which entered the season ranked No. 2 in the coaches preseason big-school poll, standing at 3-4. Monica Williams’ team is now riding a five-game winning streak, which included a 2-0 start in Region 5-4A play before the holiday break.
“Well, I think we’re starting to play a little bit better,” said Williams.
“We’re having more flow on offense and our defense is picking us up. We’re just starting to play more as a team, and I think that’s really something that we’ve seen during the tournament. Wee really wanted to have a good showing here again.”
The Jackets jumped on the Panthers early and never let up. After Pinewood opened the scoring with one free throw, 5-11 sophomore Brittany Golden put Irmo ahead for good with a score off the offensive glass. It was the start of an 11-0 run that also featured two outside pops by McCants for five points and two inside scores by Green.
Pinewood made a brief move late in the first quarter and early in the second, scoring five unanswered points to cut the Irmo lead to 15-9 at the 6:23 mark of the second quarter. But the Yellow Jackets promptly responded with a 13-3 surge that set the halftime score at 28-12. Green got things going with inside scores on consecutive possessions, on off a nice feed by McCants. Irmo carried a 43-22 lead into the final eight minutes after a three-point play by McCants with six seconds left in the third quarter.
Green and McCants received some solid support from unsung Brianna Stanton and Jemekia Wilson off the bench. Stanton and Wilson, a 5-11 junior forward, combined for 16 points.
The Yellow Jackets (8-4, 2-0) return to Region 5-4A play on Jan. 5 at home against North Augusta. Irmo currently shares first place with neighboring Dutch Fork in the early stages of the conference campaign.