Originally created 03/05/02

Blackville-Hilda faces familiar foe

As the clock wound down in Blackville-Hilda's 59-47 win against Great Falls last week, Hawks fans started the chant.

As the clock wound down in Blackville-Hilda's 59-47 win against Great Falls last week, Hawks fans started the chant.

"H-K-T, H-K-T," they yelled in reference to Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, the only Region 4-A team Blackville-Hilda didn't beat this season.

The fans got their wish. Blackville-Hilda, one of four area South Carolina teams in the state Final Four, faces Hunter Kinard-Tyler at 8:30 tonight in the state Class A semifinals at White Knoll High School in Lexington, S.C.

Although the Trojans defeated the Hawks by an average of 16 points in two games this season, Blackville-Hilda coach Mike Beasley said his team isn't thinking about the past.

"Our attitude was that when the playoffs started, a whole new season began," said Beasley, whose Hawks will take the court after the Ridge Spring-Monetta girls face Lewisville at 7 p.m. "I can't tell you how much our team has progressed since then. We have the confidence."

The Hawks finished the past two seasons with records of 12-12 and 13-13. This year, they finished 16-9 and were a No. 3 seed in the state tournament.

After a team meeting at the end of the regular season cleared the locker room air, Blackville-Hilda caught a winning streak.

"We'd been fighting, we had to figure out how to come together, and we knew we needed to have more 'we' than 'I,"' Beasley said.

The Hawks beat second-seeded Ridge Spring-Monetta in the first round and took care of Buford in the Sweet 16. In the quarterfinals, they upset Great Falls, which had won seven straight Upper State titles.

Combine their run with a hunger for revenge against Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, and Beasley likes his team's chances.

"It's going to be a real good game," Beasley said. "Our guys have something to prove. I feel like we're ready."

These statements were echoed by Silver Bluff coach Samuel Lilly, whose team also will see a familiar opponent tonight in the Class AA semifinals.

The Bulldogs face Allendale-Fairfax, whom they beat in two of three contests this season. With the Region 5-AA title on the line, Silver Bluff handed the Tigers a 72-53 loss.

"We're not looking past this game, but our players know we can beat them," Lilly said.

Silver Bluff will play after the Barnwell girls meet Lee Central at 7 p.m.

While a strong performance from forward Brandon Wallace, who has struggled offensively in the past three games, would be welcome, Lilly said, Wallace's offensive numbers don't have to determine Silver Bluff's chances of winning.

After all, the Bulldogs handled Hanahan 65-47 last week, even though Wallace was on the bench for most of the third quarter with four fouls and scored only 11 points.

"That makes us feel better, because we know we don't necessarily need his 20 points a game," Lilly said. "We've got him to the point where, if he's not scoring, he can do other things, like play defense and rebound. He's realized that. And we know he doesn't have to score for us to win."

Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or at josh.katzowitz@augustachronicle.com


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