Lower Richland Outlasts Lady ‘Hawks; WHS Falls to Chapin

Westwood’s Aubria Myers (21) takes aim.

The Lady Diamond Hornets of Lower Richland fought off a late run by Westwood Friday night, eking out a 36-29 region win in the ‘Hawks’ Nest.

The game was something of a reunion for the girls’ coaching staffs. Westwood head coach Christine Hagood is a former Diamond Hornet herself. Even more ironic is the fact that she and Lower Richland head coach Debbie Stroman were teammates on the same Lower Richland varsity basketball team in their high school days. Stroman also coached Westwood assistant junior varsity coach Melanie (Scott) Cooper, and Cooper was on Stroman’s first state championship team.

Stroman was not sure what to expect from Westwood.

“I have never seen them play. It’s a new experience for them and us. We will go at the game like we always do, pushing the ball, using what’s available,” Stroman said. When asked if she was concerned about Westwood’s tough zone defense, she said, “We play zone all the time. We can’t get a team to play us any other way. We welcome zone.”

Hagood was impressed with her former team. “They’re good, 14-0 this season and 4-0 in the region,” she said. “They have good players. To have a chance to beat them, we have to have a solid defense, and fewer turnovers. We will mix up our defense tonight. Sometimes zone, sometimes man-to-man. Our team played well against A.C. Flora and Camden, so hopefully good things will happen to us tonight.”

Halfway thru first period, the game momentum swung in Lower Richland’s direction, as they scored a 3-pointer by Jasmine Richardson and another 2-pointer, while Westwood was yet to score. Both teams had some sloppy play in this quarter, but Westwood didn’t get the breaks. The first quarter ended with a score of 7-2, Lower Richland. In the second quarter, Westwood was able to come back with a 3-pointer and a 2-point bucket, both by Taylor Toney, which tied the game 8-8. By the end of the period, foul shooting would put the Diamond Hornets back on top, 12-8, in this low-scoring match.

Passing had been a noticeable strong quality possessed by the Redhawk girls this season. Unfortunately, their passing game didn’t serve them well Friday night, and many turnovers were attributable to passing errors. Conversely, Lower Richland was talented at exploiting any weaknesses shown by Westwood.

In the third period, the momentum seemed to be on the side of the Diamond Hornets, as a few quick baskets extended Lower Richland’s lead to 20-7. Westwood would get their chance for a comeback, and with 15 seconds to go in the third period, Westwood was within striking range, 20-16, mostly on foul shooting.

Westwood managed to keep their momentum high early in the final period. With 7:10 to go in the game, Westwood had tied the game 20-20, scoring 13 unanswered points. The high point of the game came when the Redhawks took a 22-20 lead after Toney hit a pair of free throws.

However, Lower Richland was able to find another gear and dominated play late in the last period, and the final score was 36-29. High scorers for Westwood were Taylor Toney and Jai Lykes, each scoring 11 points. Toney hit two 3-point buckets for the Redhawks Friday.

Scoring was remarkably even among the Diamond Hornets. Kameron Roach was the top scorer with seven Points; Jasmine Richardson and Cailah Hicklin scored five each and four different players scored four points each.

Tuesday night, the Lady Eagles of Chapin delivered a 51-43 defeat to the ‘Hawks. Kayla Atkins led Westwood with 12 points on the night.

The Lady Redhawks will take on Dreher High School tonight (Jan. 25) in a rematch at Dreher. In their previous meeting, Dreher won the game 44-11. Tip is at 6 p.m.

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