As we get closer and closer to what is sure to be another exciting season of high school girls basketball across South Carolina, the anticipation is certainly on the rise across the Palmetto State.
That is where we come in. Throughout the last several days and weeks, Prep Girls Hoops has provided in-depth and comprehensive previews of every region across the state. These have included a spotlight on the key players in every region as well as our opinions on where we believe which teams will finish where in the state.
As we continue with our look at Class 4A, we move on to one of the most talent-laden regions in the state – Region 5-AAAA in the Midlands.
(*PGH Preseason Player of the Year*)
The Division I Campbell Camels of the Big South landed two top-tier recruits from South Carolina. One of those was this star senior who led the Redhawks to a deep run in last season’s 4A tournament where they were barely eliminated by eventual champion Westside. She has also ran on the grassroots circuit with Team Curry 17U. Woods can be a ballhawk for the Redhawks with the work she contributes on the defensive end of the floor. She blends together speed, quickness and agility along with superb ball handling skills. Defenses have to stay on their toes with Woods, especially with how gifted of a rim attacker she is.
Woods may get the Redhawks’ share of the attention at Westwood, but she did not do it all by herself by any means. She has a superb supporting cast that includes the 5-foot-8 small forward who, like many a Midlands standout, runs with SC Future on the grassroots circuit. Daniels recently received an in-state offer from Allen University. How she excels in the transition game is a strong point of what she does. Daniels also is unafraid of contact that can put her at the free throw line. Weaving through defenders is another thing Daniels does with excellence. Last season, she averaged 11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 steals last season at Westwood.
Allen University loves what they have seen from the Redhawks as evidenced by the school offering both Daniels and Johnson. SC Future loves them to as it is Johnson’s travel squad she runs with during the AAU campaign. She stands at a tall 6-foot-2 and gives a major boost to Westwood’s rebounding efforts. She stays active and energetic on both offense and defense and has mastered the art of getting to the lane in transition. Defensively, she can throw off an opponent’s shot. Johnson runs the floor with a great deal of efficiency along with being a formidable paint presence for Westwood.
The spring and summer months have been a banner one for Delaney’s recruiting fortunes. In the last several months, she has picked up in-state offers from Limestone University, Francis Marion and Clafin – one of the two Orangeburg-based HBCUs – but eventually committed to Francis Marion. Delaney is another who participates in AAU with SC Future. Delaney comes through with clutch plays as a defender in addition to letting everyone know how skilled she is as a rebounder. Delaney will also make the correct passes to her teammates and uses her 6-foot-1 frame to convert on high-percentage shots near the rim. Her height combined with her length also make her a proficient shot blocker.
Speaking of rising stars that are on Francis Marion’s radar, Gray recently announced that she also received an offer from the Patriots. She too is another that has spent her spring and summer on the grassroots realm with SC Future. Gray displays great ball movement and establishes a great deal of chemistry and camaraderie with her teammates. Wherever she is on the floor, Gray is a threat to put crooked numbers on the board as soon as her kicks make contact with the hardwood – including at the rim and from 3-point land. She also plays the game on contact and has no problems getting to the free throw line.
The 2021-22 season could be described as a trying – and rebuilding one for the Yellowjackets. They did however have a star junior who served as bright a spot as the gold on Irmo’s uniforms. Even with the team’s struggles, Collins did lead Irmo into the 4A tournament and she has previously participated in grassroots ball with IDreams. Collins has displayed a great deal of maturity despite being a youngster in her previous seasons and that will be a worthwhile attribute for her as she advances into her veteran seasons. She helps out a team’s rebounding efforts – particularly offensively – and can really get going with midrange jumpers and attacking the basket. This is especially the case if she has the hot hand.
Thompson proved to be every bit of a “Ms. Reliable” as any of the Redhawks’ more ballyhooed seniors given she played in all 27 matchups Westwood played in last season. She is another who spends her spring and summer months on the grassroots circuit with SC Future. Thompson stands at 5-foot-4and gives the Redhawks timely offense along with superb ball distribution. She can create extra possessions for her team by making things difficult for opposing ball handlers and making them prone to turnovers. Thompson places plenty of emphasis on limiting miscues herself as an extension of her ball handling attributes.
In recent years, the Blazers have received statewide attention for one of its ex-boys’ stars-turned-Gamecock. Coach Terence Gibson has done a stellar job on the girls end of the Ridge View spectrum as well and Drakeford is an embodiment of that. She has played volleyball as well throughout her athletic career. She stands at 6-foot-1 and presents a tall task to contend with on both offense and defense for opposing fives and fours. As she has gained more experience, she has improved both statistically and in terms of her overall development. Expect a better season from Ridge View in 2022-23.
The Rivers that is on the Yellowjackets roster has a crystal clear and bright outlook. She is another of the standout players that defines an Irmo roster in rebuild mode but still made last season’s 4A tournament. Rivers took to the court in 13 games last season and puts her 5-foot-11 stature to her full advantage. She can utilize an effective jump hook to put points on the board near the basket. Rivers also makes great use of her left hand and is willing to absorb contact to find her way to the free throw line. She is poised for another productive season in 2022-23.
Bailey has worked hard to get her way from the Blazers junior varsity team up to the big squad. The team is moving down from Class 5A down to Class 4A for this season. Bailey displays a great deal of court vision and can make the right passes to her teammates. One element to her overall game is what she does from 3-point range and how she is a backcourt stalwart for Ridge View. Bailey is transitioning into veteran status with the Blazers and the experience she brings to the table ought to be a worthwhile benefit to the team in the next couple of seasons.
Prep Girls Hoops remembers getting a glimpse of Harvey when she put together a stellar outing at Dawn Staley’s team camp at the University of South Carolina. She sports the Palmetto 76ers Select 2025 and also has experience as a track and field participant. Harvey is a 5-foot-11 big who exerts a great deal of effort in the paint. She also has no problems absorbing contact and getting to the free throw line. A good number of the rebounds she brings down are of the offensive variety and she will reject many an opponent’s shots as she combines length with height.
Omeire took to the court in all 27 games as well for Westwood and proved what she can do in the frontcourt as either a three or a four. She has also participated in track and field events throughout her athletic career and has ran on the grassroots circuit with SC Future. Omeire is an asset because of her ability to do the little things that may not appear on a scoresheet such as hustling for 50-50 balls. She is also willing to absorb chargers to create additional possessions for her team. Omeire also attacks the rim with a fearless attitude and can get from one end of the floor to the other while possessing the ball.
Delaney is a symbol of how bright the future is in Forest Acres. Speaking of future, Delaney is also familiar with SC Future 2026 since it is the team she runs with during the AAU months. She has a middle school championship with the Cavaliers of nearby Crayton MS which is a feeder school for A.C. Flora. Delaney primarily plays at the three with the playing time she gets and makes sure she always contributes productive minutes. With coach Jacob Thompson entering her second go-round with the Falcons, he will certainly be thrilled with what he will be getting from this young star on the rise.
One of the many elements that define the current state of the Blazers girls basketball program is a budding youth movement that includes sophomores and freshmen. Goodwin is part of that youth movement that coach Terence Gibson is witnessing firsthand at now 4A Ridge View. She stands at 5-foot-3 and primarily plays at the two as a guard in the backcourt. Last season’s Blazers rendition did graduate a few seniors – six in total – meaning it creates opportunities for young players like Goodwin to earn more playing time with Ridge View. Goodwin is poised to solidify the Blazers as one of the many “teams of the future” across the Palmetto State.
One of the facets of that youth movement that defines coach Terrence Gibson’s Blazers squad is the problems they will cause for opponents in the frontcourt. Johnson runs on the grassroots circuit with Palmetto 76ers 2026. She mostly operates as a four as a 5-foot-10 power forward. Johnson can set herself nicely near the rim to receive passes and she takes care of the rest. She also throws defenders off balance as they do not know if she will pass or score. When she receives a pass behind the 3-point line, she is likely to take and make her tries from long range.
McCray played up in class during the AAU months of the spring and summer months with Palmetto 76ers 2025. She joined the Falcons as an eighth grader and seamless transitioned to how the game is contested at the high school level. McCray is very confident in her 3-point shooting and is an efficient floor runner. Defensively, she is a force to be reckoned with as she is a consistent threat to steal the ball and create extra possessions for her team. McCray is another of coach Jacob Thompson’s up-and-comers that have next. Ball distribution is another key element to her game.
Prep Girls Hoops predictions:
Westwood – The Redhawks big three of seniors is poised to close out their high school careers with an exclamation point.
A.C. Flora – The Falcons improved its win total by 13 in coach Jacob Thompson’s first season.
Ridge View – Coach Terrence Gibson has an emerging young core with the Blazers.
Irmo – The Yellowjackets should have an improved 2022-23 over last season.
Lugoff-Elgin – The Demons’ lone victory of the 2021-22 season occurred at home against Richland Northeast
Richland Northeast – It was not that long when the Cavaliers put together a 20-win season (in 2017-18).