SUMTER — Once again, the Pinewood Prep girls’ basketball team made it look easy — too easy — in Friday’s SCISA Class AAA state semifinal game against the Hammond School.
The Panthers led 26-8 at the end of one quarter and extended the lead to 51-17 at halftime. A running clock was used once Pinewood took a 40-point lead early in the second half and everyone on the roster played early and often as the Panthers cruised to a 67-37 victory.
The Panthers go after their third straight state title and fourth in five years today. They play the winner of the Northwood Academy-Heathwood Hall game at 6:30 p.m.
The Panthers received a bye in the first round and torched Laurence Manning in the second round. They took a 42-17 halftime lead en route to a 79-30 victory.
“We’re in the dance,” Pinewood Prep coach Nancy Beatty said after her team upped its record to 26-4. “We feel if you take care of the little things, you will get to the big game. We did the little things. I thought we played very well in the first half.”
Maria Corrella led the Panthers with 21 points. Raygon Hendrix and Kaitlyn Dambaugh both added 10.
Amashia Blakeney led Hammond with 11 points.
“I want the girls to envision cutting down the nets,” Beatty said. “I think we deserve to be here. We proved ourselves. Winning that third straight state championship is our goal.”
Hammond (37): Adams 6, Green 9, Blakeney 11, Green 2, Trigg 2, Adams 7.
Pinewood (67): Hendrix 10, Dambaugh 10, Paylor 7, Deas 5, Corella 21, Rhodes 8, Boyd 6.
Records: Pinewood 26-4, Hammond: 17-7.