High School Basketball

Swansea’s Danae McNeal earns top honor, five Midlands players on USA Today’s all-state basketball team

Danae McNeal added one more honor to her high school career.

The Swansea senior and Clemson signee was named USA Today’s American Family Insurance All-USA Player of Year for SC as the all-state teams were released Wednesday. It is the second straight year she has won the award.

McNeal was named Gatorade Player of Year last month. She averaged 24.5 points, 12.6 rebounds, 4.7 steals, 4.0 assists and 3.4 blocks per game this season in helping the Tigers to the third round of the playoffs.

The 6-foot guard averaged a double-double over her past three seasons and finished her career with 2,641 points, 10th most in state history.

McNeal was joined by Lexington guard and South Carolina signee Olivia Thompson on the all-state first team. Thompson, the Class 5A Player of the Year, averaged 19.9 points a game this season in helping the Wildcats to their first Lower State championship appearance in 30 years.

North Augusta’s Mya Burns, Emerald’s Quadijah Moore and Goose Creek’s Shayla Nelson made up the rest of the first team. Goose Creek’s Tim Baldwin was Coach of the Year.

Westwood’s Unique Drake and Spring Valley’s Taylor Lewis and Taylor Britt were second-team selections. Drake, a St. John’s signee, averaged 14.7 points, 4.2 steals, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season for the Redhawks, who advanced to their second straight 4A Upper State title game.

Lewis, who is headed to Middle Tennessee State, averaged 16.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Britt, an Air Force signee, averaged 8.9 points, 6.3 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists for the Vikings, who advanced to the 5A title game.

Wilson guard and North Carolina commit Loyal McQueen and East Clarendon freshman Ta’Laysia Cooper rounded out the second team.