Around the State: Oconee and Pickens Counties
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Throughout the last several weeks, Prep Girls Hoops has gone from county to county across the Palmetto State to take a look at the names to be on the lookout for as the 2023-24 season commences. Our next stop on…
Throughout the last several weeks, Prep Girls Hoops has gone from county to county across the Palmetto State to take a look at the names to be on the lookout for as the 2023-24 season commences.
Our next stop on our “Around the State” series takes us to the northwest regions of the state into Pickens and Oconee counties. These are names that many high school hoops aficionados – as well as college coaches – need to have on their radars. #RecruitThePalmettoState
Schools in the counties: Daniel HS, Easley HS, Liberty HS, Pickens HS, Walhalla HS, West-Oak HS
We begin with a look at the 3A Lions who finished with a mark of 11-15 but finished outside of the playoff picture.
The Lions graduated its star point guard Destiny Hoover from last season’s rendition, but are looking to revamp in 2023-24. Upstate Rebels . is returning for her sophomore season after logging action in 30 games last season with Daniel., a freshman, had an impressive AAU season during the spring and summer with
is a name that rings a bell from her performance at this year’s Prep Girls Hoops Carolinas Freshman Showcase. is another freshman who is sure to see playing time this season.
The 4A Green Wave put together an impressive 20-7 campaign last season that included advancing to the second round of last year’s tournament. Easley also had an impressive time in its region last season as they finished with a mark of 9-1 against 1-AAAA foes.
The 2022-23 Easley rendition graduated five seniors – including star forward Reagan Horn. The focal point for all things Green Wave this season looks to be, who can play either the four or the five. One of her strong points is using her 5-foot-11 frame to haul in rebounds.
The 2A Red Devils finished 6-18 last season and suffered a quick first-round exit from last season’s tournament at the hands of Keenan.
When thinking about teams in the 4A ranks, one cannot overlook the meteoric rise that the Blue Flame have encountered the past few seasons. Pickens is widely seen as a volleyball school, but it is displaying it can make waves on the basketball hardwood as well.
The Blue Flame followed up a 2021-22 season that saw them win its first-ever postseason contest since 2010 with a stellar 2022-23 campaign that saw Pickens advance to the quarterfinals of the 4A playoffs. Pickens was eliminated by eventual 4A champion North Augusta. They were also ranked No. 7 in the preseason 4A SCBCA poll.
Pickens is led by its star sophomore guard inand a star senior forward in who committed to Limestone. Spearheading the Blue Flame’s backcourt efforts, Owens averaged 16.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, five steals and four assists last season. Chambers led its frontcourt efforts by averaging 12 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.3 steals in 24 games.
The final three teams we will preview all hail from the 3A ranks beginning with the Bobcats of Seneca. The team experienced plenty of hard luck last season, finishing with a 7-17 record and an emphatic first-round playoff exit at the hands of Southside.
, the team’s standout in the frontcourt is returning for her junior campaign. Ivey is a multi-sport athlete who also plays volleyball as a middle hitter. She committed to Coker University for volleyball. Ivey had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds in the playoff contest with the Tigers.
The Razorbacks were another team that put together an impressive and deep playoff run to the quarterfinals of last season’s 3A tournament. Walhalla finished with a mark of 16-10 along with an 8-2 showing against region opponents.
Byron Wimphrie’s Razorbacks squad graduated three seniors from last season’s team – including Whitney Winstead. Tempo Sports Academy .(freshman) and (sophomore) spent time during the AAU months of spring and summer on the same travel team –
Ortiz also plays volleyball. In 25 games last season, she averaged 8.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals. As for Roach, who also plays volleyball and soccer, she averaged 11.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game.provides a veteran presence. The senior guard averaged 14.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in 2022-23.
Coach Annie Burgess is entering her second season at the helm of West-Oak HS following a stint at Burgess HS in North Carolina. West-Oak is also her alma mater and the hire paid dividends for the Warriors as they finished with a 18-8 season in 2022-23. The Warriors also finished 8-3 against region rivals.
Two of the premier players for the Warriors are entering their sophomore seasons. One of those iswho has played varsity since she was a seventh grader and averaged 10.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game last season. The other is who turned in a season where she played in 26 games in 2022-23. West-Oak also has a standout sophomore guard in Joey Burgess who averaged 10.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game last season.