Giants — those 6 feet and above — may have ruled the roost this weekend, but when all was said and done one of its more diminutive figures stood above everyone else who took the floor at the S.C. High School League (SCHSL) state basketball championships.
Despite being a mere 5-foot-3, the scoring prowess of Tamara Jackson during her career at Green Sea Floyds has been well chronicled. First hitting the floor as an eighth-grader, she surpassed the 1,000-point mark at the start of the 2016-17 season.
Until Friday, however, none of those points had come under the bright lights of Colonial Life Arena and a state title game. Much like the many games preceding it, the moment would not prove to be too big for the tiniest of stars.
Jackson scored 31 points for the Trojans in the Class A girls title game, albeit in a losing effort as they fell to Estill, 49-46.
Leading all scorers in the weekend’s opening contest, her performance finished ops among all participants — boys or girls. Keenan’s Tariq Simmons came closest to matching Jackson’s output, filling the bucket for 30 points in his team’s 56-53 loss to Burke.
Eleven of those points came in the fourth quarter, one in which she almost helped Green Sea Floyds overcome a double-digit deficit. She also was 10-for-11 from the free throw line for the game.
Jackson never left the floor in the contest, playing in it each of the title tilt’s 32 minutes. According to her coach, Tracy Kienast, the Trojans likely would not have been in striking distance without her.
“She knew she had to take over,” he said. “We were struggling to score, and she knows what she is doing on the floor.
“We communicate back and forth a lot, a little eye contact, just a quick hand signal. She knows what I’m saying, she’ll give me some suggestions, sometimes telling me ‘Hey, I’d love to run this.’ And I’m like OK, sounds good.”
While certainly wishing they’d have been able to come home with a state title, the Green Sea Floyds girls coach is encouraged by the fact he has one more year with the all-state performer.
“… She has a good eye for what is going on on the floor, and has a good feel for it. I trust her out there to take charge and know what needs to be done. She did a great job (Friday night), and we got one more year with her. Maybe we can get back here and win it.”
State championship weekend recap
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!: Up 24-6 and cruising through its Class 4A final tilt with Lower Richland, Wren bench players pulled out newspapers during a Diamond Hornets free throw.
Certainly well intended, the Golden Hurricane didn’t expect the gesture to be a turning point in the game.
From that point, Lower Richland outscored Wren by 27 points, coming all the way back to claim its first state championship since 1999 with a 51-42 win.
Clemson signee Clyde Trapp owned the fourth quarter, punctuating a stellar high school career with 20 points in the game.
Bridesmaids, no more: For years, Dorman coach Thomas Ryan merely hoped one day his team would be the last one standing when all was said and done.
Apparently, wishes indeed come true.
A backdoor cut to Zach Butler with 40 seconds remaining delivered the Cavaliers their first state basketball championship, defeating Blythewood 55-53 in the Class 5A boys title game.
Cullum’s late bucket pushes Bishop England to title: Katie Cullum’s lay-up with seconds left punctuated a furious rally by the Battling Bishops, clawing out of a 10-point hole to claim the Class 3A girls title over Newberry, 48-47.
Rhetta Moore had 13 points for Bishop England, while Christine Egede chipped in 10 to lead it to a state championship.
Newberry gave the Battling Bishops a hand, given multiple opportunities to put the game away at the charity stripe. The Bulldogs only made nine of 22 free throw attempts.
Kelsey Felks led all scorers with 15 points and 17 rebounds.
‘28-0… Get you some of that!’: The most loquacious of North Augusta fans let it be known what the team’s trip to Columbia this past Saturday was meant to accomplish.
“It’s a business trip … nothing more than a business trip!,” he said.
While he would say plenty more, so did the Yellow Jackets. Except they did their talking on the floor.
A microcosm of their season, North Augusta was dominant from start to finish, claiming a 61-37 victory over Wilson in the Class 4A girls title game.
With the win, the Yellow Jackets finished 28-0.
Amari Jackson had 19 points to lead all scorers, while Kiara Jackson followed up with 10 of her own.
Bluebloods: The best team doesn’t always win … the toughest one does.
On several occasions, Burke had chances to pick up camp and settle on an accomplished season that fell short of its goal.
The Bulldogs wanted more, however.
Playing with a relentless nature, they erased an 8-point second half deficit to claim the Class 2A boys state title, 56-53.
Anthony Hill and Algernard Young had 17 and 11 points, respectively, for Burke.
Tariq Simmons had a game-high 30 points for the Raiders in a losing effort.
Goose Creek leaves no doubt: All season long, the Gators validated their No. 1 ranking.
Last Friday would be no different, as they cruised past Wade Hampton in the Class 5A girls championship game, 54-34.
Shayla Nelson dominated in the post, scoring a game-high 22 points. Charlotte-bound Mariah Linney finished her prep career with a 16-point effort, playing each of the game’s 32 minutes.
Greyson Boone had 12 points to lead the way for the Generals.
Hemingway hangs on: A Lewisville heave at the buzzer caromed off the rim, allowing the Tigers to claim the Class A boys state crown, 72-71.
Desmond Pressley led all scorers with 21 points, with teammates Darius Williams and Darius Taylor chipping in 16 and 10 points, respectively.
Four Lewisville players scored in double figures, led by Trey Keels’ 17 points.
McElvey saves best for last, leads Southside to title: Exhibiting exactly what a leader is made of, the Tigers’ lone senior led all scorers with 19 points — and more importantly, his team to a 65-57 win in the Class 3A boys state title game.
He was one of three Southside players in double figures, along with Tuzion Brock and R.J. Campbell, who had 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Dillon was unable to get anything going from the field in the game, shooting 28 percent.
Early flurry leads Mullins to championship: Sometimes the numbers do lie.
Despite shooting only 29 percent from the field, the Auctioneers made 23 of their 41 free throws attempted, claiming a 62-50 win over Christ Church in the girls Class 2A title tilt.
Janell Sinab led all scorers with 18 points, while Brittani McDonald added 16. Serenity Hunt also chipped in with 15.