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Wade Hampton foils LHS hopes

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Lady Bruins eliminated with home playoff defeat

By Robert Howey

 

The usually noisy Lancaster High Lady Bruins’ basketball locker room area was silent Thursday night, Feb. 20.

A stunning 27-24 loss to fourth-seeded Wade Hampton of Greenville left for few words in what was an unexpected early exit for the sixth-ranked LHS girls, the unbeaten regular-season Region III-AAAA champion.

The Lady Generals, down 21-17 with a period to play, used a 10-3 fourth-quarter surge to net the three-point win and advance in the Class AAAA Upper State playoffs.

“We didn’t play well and played tight,” LHS coach Ronnie Robinson said after the Lady Bruins fell to end their season. “We were never able to get an offensive flow and rhythm.”

Lancaster, after a sluggish first half which it trailed 14-10,  rallied in the third period to gain the lead at 21-17.

Wade Hampton hit only three third-period points, but LHS did the same in the final eight minutes.

Lancaster, which trailed 17-12 after a timeout at the 5:16 mark of the third period, ignited on a 9-0 run – three straight inside buckets from senior center Phoebe Johnson and a Kyia Hough trey – for a 21-17 lead.

“Once we made that run, I thought we would keep that pace, but we couldn’t keep the momentum going,” Robinson said.

Wade Hampton, working the ball inside and getting the most of its possessions, used an 8-1 run to gain a 25-22 lead on Madison Bailey’s trey with 2:24 left.

A Johnson bucket closed the gap to one, 25-24, but Sierra Foster hit two crucial free throws with 9.3 seconds to give the Lady Generals a 27-24 lead. LHS had a chance to possibly tie, but Hough’s long trey missed the mark.

Wade Hampton was fouled on the rebound and missed on a one-and-one, but claimed the rebound to seal the win.

“I saw Lancaster on film and I felt if we played our game, we had a chance,” WHHS coach Eric Burrow said. “We just had to execute and I felt we preserved their runs.

“I think playing in a tough region helped us.”

Sierra Foster and Rebecca Spry each hit seven to lead the 15-8 Lady Generals. Savannah Vernon and Madison Bailey each had four. Emma Winiski had three and Kara Marlow had two.

“We didn’t react to what they did,” Robinson said.

Johnson led LHS with 15 points, nine in the second half. She grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Hough hit seven, with four assists and three rebounds. Amirah Steward scored two. Keyotta Garris had four rebounds and two steals.

Wade Hampton was 8-13 at the foul line and Lancaster was 5-10.

“We picked the worst time of the season to play our worst game,” Robinson said. “Our season was awesome. We reached the majority of our goals, but it didn’t end like we wanted. Most of all I hate it for our seniors because they’ve put a lot into our program.”