NORTH AUGUSTA -- Watching Greenwood keep pace with North Augusta in the first half Monday night, it was hard to decipher which team had the losing record.
The tempo was fast and furious with neither team able to take control of the momentum in the first round of the South Carolina Class AAAA girls basketball tournament. What worried Lady Yellow Jackets coach Faye Norris the most at halftime was Greenwood's second-chance points.
Norris' concerns were warranted as the Lady Eagles upset North Augusta 67-57 to eliminate the Jackets from title consideration.
"They were getting second and third chances," Norris said. "We talked about that at halftime. Greenwood showed up to play. In the tournament it's who wants to show up and play, and they played well.
"You can't go by season records. At this time of year everybody wants to win," she said.
Greenwood entered the tournament with a 9-14 record but played with the hunger and intensity of a title contender. Senior guard Jennifer Pellin was unstoppable as she lit up the Lady Yellow Jackets (15-11) for a game-high 27 points. Pellin nearly matched North Augusta's scoring in the third period when the Lady Eagles turned a 29-27 halftime deficit into a 45-41 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Pellin had 10 of her 15 secondhalf points in the third quarter, while North Augusta as a team could only muster 12. She said the possibility of her season ending motivated her.
"(You) have to play every game like it's your last," Pellin said. "We were playing as a team and were more aggressive."
North Augusta had almost as many second-chance opportunities as Greenwood, but were plagued by too many blown uncontested layups and poor shot selection in the lane.
"When we did get a second chance it seemed like a surprise," Norris said. "We would shoot it over the basket."
Pam Butler had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead North Augusta. It was not enough.
The second half belonged to Greenwood with Sheneka Miller's hot hands providing a deadly onetwo punch along with Pellin. Miller had 14 of her 23 points after the intermission on 7-of-10 shooting from the field.
The Lady Yellow Jackets couldn't keep up with the torrid pace set by the Lady Eagles and were outscored 40-28 in the second half. Butler did her best to keep her team competitive. Her basket with 1:02 left closed the margin to 60-56 but Greenwood connected on 3 of 4 free throws and Miller hit two field goals to end North Augusta's season.
GREENWOOD (67) -- Keecha Simmons 2, Sheneka Miller 23, Jennifer Pellin 27, Keekee Rapp 2, Patricka Moton 4, Caroline Addis 9. Totals 28 10-16 67.
NORTH AUGUSTA (57) -- Stacy Morris 9, Tisha Mays 13, Tiffany Isaac 10, Amanda Williams 2, Pam Butler 21, Lindsey Cawley 2. Totals 23 10-16 57.
Greenwood -- 19 8 18 22 -- 67
North Augusta -- 17 12 12 16 -- 57
3-point goals -- Greenwood 1 (Pellin). North Augusta 1 (Morris). North Augusta finishes season with 15-11 record.