High School Basketball

Former Gamecock hoops standout to lead Lower Richland girls basketball program

Watch: Aaron Lucas named Lower Richland girls basketball coach

Former South Carolina Gamecock Aaron Lucas discusses taking over tradition-rich Lower Richland girls basketball program.
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Former South Carolina Gamecock Aaron Lucas discusses taking over tradition-rich Lower Richland girls basketball program.

Aaron Lucas has experience coaching boys’ high school basketball. Now, he will have a chance to coach the girls.

The former South Carolina hoops standout was introduced as the new girls basketball coach at Lower Richland on Thursday. He replaces Keturah Jackson, who left to take an assistant job at Duke University.

Lucas has been an assistant with the Lower Richland boys basketball program the past two seasons. He will continue to help the boys program as well.

“I’m extremely excited,” Lucas said Thursday before his first team meeting. “Obviously huge shoes to fill after coach Stroman-Wardlaw and what Keturah Jackson has been able to do here. I think there is a strong nucleus, a good community and a strong basketball tradition.”

Lucas pointed to that strong tradition and championship banners during his meeting with the team.

This will be Lucas’ second head coaching opportunity. He was boys head coach at his alma mater Richland Northeast for four seasons from 2013-17. He led RNE to playoff appearances in three of his four seasons and went 35-52.

This will be his first chance in working on the girls’ side but he thinks it won’t be a tough transition. Lucas will keep the same assistants that were at LR last season.

“Basketball is basketball. At the end of the day, the ball has to go into the hoop and the fundamentals still come into play,” Lucas said. “I have trained girls for a number of years and girls play just as hard as the boys. I don’t think there will be difficult challenges.”

Lucas was a Nike All-American at RNE and is the school’s all-time leading scorer. The point guard played at South Carolina in college, is fourth on the Gamecocks’ all-time assist list with 454 and scored more than 1,000 points in his career.

Lucas is the first coaching hire for new athletic director Isabel Still, who replaced a retiring Debbie (Stroman) Wardlaw.

Wardlaw helped build Lower Richland girls basketball has been one of the top programs in the state and won seven state titles before becoming athletic director.

Under Jackson, the Diamond Hornets won three straight region championships and a Class 4A Lower State title appearance in 2017. She was 52-26 at Lower Richland and was named region coach of the year three straight times.

LR graduated several players but will return sophomore Anala Nelson, the team’s third leading scorer and part of young nucleus for the Diamond Hornets.