The St Johns Lady Islanders honored their four Senior basketball players Wednesday night at St Johns before the game. #3 Asha Bangura, #5 Sole Stanley, #10 Zuriah Zepke, and #24 Twanasia Heyward were brought out and recognized by the St Johns faithful. They put in countless hours of practice and preparation throughout their high school careers and will surely be missed. None more than Sole Stanley who was the leader of this year’s team and last year’s for that matter. She handled the basketball the most, scored the most points, assisted on the most baskets, and played hard to the end no matter the score. The Lady Islanders will have a lot to make up for next year with these departures. Twanasia Heyward has been a force on the boards these last two years doing the dirty work of rebounding and blocking shots, while putting in put backs after her rebounds. Zuriah Zepke stepped up and handled the basketball when other teams tried to trap the Islanders. She always played hard and made use of all five fouls(even on this night). Asha Bangura was a key reserve, coming off the bench and bringing the ball up the court and keeping a cool head in stressful situations. Unfortunately for the Lady Islanders, Senior night did not end in a win. The Islanders fell to the Phoenix 55-22.
The Islanders played a competitive first quarter as the Islanders locked down on defense and held the Phoenix to 9 first quarter points, trailing 9-5. The Phoenix got the mojo back in quarter number 2, scoring 17 and running out to a 26-9 halftime lead. The Islanders struggled with their own shot and also keeping control of the basketball. The turn overs led to easy baskets in transition for the Phoenix as the Islanders could not get back to defend. The Islanders would have probably done better by switching to a zone defense as the ultra quick Palmetto guards routinely beat them to the basket and the ball. Hind sight is 20/20 though.
In the third quarter, the Islanders outscored the Phoenix 7-6 and cut the lead to 32-16. Again the defense was better and led to a competitive quarter. The 4th quarter was too much like quarter number 2 as the Phoenix routed the Islanders 23-6 to win 55-22. The Islanders were plagued by 29 turn overs for the game that gave Palmetto Scholars extra opportunity to score. On the bright side, the Islanders caused 14 steals and had 10 blocked shots.
Sole Stanley led in scoring in her final home game with 10 points, and 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 assist and 3 blocks. Bernardica Brown added 5 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 3 blocks. Zuriah Zepke was 1-2 from the field and finished with 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks before fouling out in the 4th quarter in her final home game. Asha Bangura was 0-1 from the field in her final home game.
From my calculations, the Islanders should finish in 5th in the region at 3-7 ahead of Lowcountry Leadership. This would send the Islanders on the road for a playoff game on Monday night versus #2 from Region 5. We’ll keep you posted when playoff seedings are official.