Lady Panthers claim Carolina Invitational championship
Pinewood won its division during one of the nation’s largest high school girls’ basketball tournaments.
The Lady Panthers went 3-0 last week to claim the Palmetto Division Championship for the 2012 Bojangles Carolina Invitational. The title game for the division Saturday pitted Pinewood, the defending SCISA AAA champion, up against a defending Virginia Class AAA champion, Oakton.
The seniors paced the Lady Panthers in a 52-48 victory. Guard Katelyn Dambaugh and forward Jennifer Rhodes both finished with 12 points while forward Brianna Boyd posted 10. Maria Corella had 8 while Raygon Hendrix had 6 and sophomore Precious Paylor had 4.
“We built up some momentum during the tournament in Myrtle Beach and my team picked up right were it left off there,” Pinewood coach Nancy Beatty said. “We still have some things to work on, but we are playing pretty good basketball and these tournaments are preparing us for region play. The game with Oakton went back and forth so it was a great way to end things.”
Pinewood advanced to the championship with a 70-57 semi-final win over Seneca. Boyd led the Lady Panthers with 21 points while Hendrix added 17 and Rhodes 16. Dambaugh, Paylor and Corella also scored for Pinewood.
The Lady Panthers opened the tournament Dec. 27 with a 73-52 victory over Cheraw. Hendrix led the attack with a game-high 20 points. Rhodes scored 19 and Boyd scored 14. Dambaugh, Paylor, Corella, Sarah Deas and Caroline Chester also scored for Pinewood.
This year 48 teams participated in the Carolina Invitational. Most of the teams are from the Eastern United States but one Australian team also participated. Other division winners for the tournament were Franklin Road Academy and Greenbrier, Digital Harbor, Catholic and Cane Bay high schools.
Boyd was named the MVP of the Palmetto Division while both Hendrix and Rhodes also were named to the All-tournament team.
The championship follows a 3-1 performance the Lady Panthers turned in at this year’s Crescent Holiday Invitational. Pinewood bounced back from an opening-round loss to win the consolation bracket.
Like the Carolina Invitational, the field for that tournament was stiff as teams from multiple states participated. Beatty says both tournaments were a great experience for the Lady Panthers.
“Hats off to the organizers of those tournaments,” she said. “They did a phenomenal job and it’s great to see girls’ teams get this kind of experience and exposure. It’s great to have the opportunity to play the caliber of teams we played. Seneca has a player who is committed to Duke and Oakton is a well-coached, disciplined team so I am happy with the way we handled them.”