Estill Lady Gators advance to State Championship

The Estill Lady Gators beat Lamar High School during the semi-final round of action last Saturday.

The Estill Fighting Lady Gators varsity basketball team traveled to Greenville, S.C. last Saturday to battle Lamar High School for a chance to play for a State Championship title in the South Carolina High School League.

The Lady Gators, No. 3 seed, beat No. 1 seeded Lamar by a final score of 47-40 during the Class-A Upper State Championship game. According to Head Coach Marcus Livingston, although the ladies began the game slowly, they ignored the pressure of a large stadium and began to play as he is accustomed during the second and third quarter. The halftime score was 25-15 in Estill’s favor. 

Defense was the name of the game against Lamar, and Hannah Johnson and Jonica Jennings were able to help their team weather a fourth-quarter barrage by Lamar. Deserving equal credit was the Estill offense led by Roche Brown with 16 points, Destiny Beckett with 13 points and Tykeria Jackson with 12 points.

The Estill coaching staff is seeking the support of the entire Hampton County community as the ladies travel to battle for the State Championship on Friday, March 3, at 4 p.m. at the Colonial Life Arena, in Columbia, S.C. The Gators will take on Green Sea Floyd for the title.

Last Friday, prior to the Lady Gators’ departure for their game in Greenville against Lamar, EHS Principal Kamar Lee spoke to the girls and gave them much support and offered words of encouragement.

“This is huge for our community because we have been kind of on the edge of breakthrough, as far as teaching and learning here within the district,” said Lee. “This is like icing on the cake for it, to cap off a good solid year at Hampton School District 2. I think by getting some of the right people in, like Coach Livingston, we have been able to continue a rich tradition in girls basketball.”

Principal Lee went on to explain that the ability to compete has motivated the ladies to excel in the classroom as well.

“The girls group, these are some of my top academic achievers at the high school,” said Lee. “What they do in the classroom has rolled over to the court.” 

“Hard work pays off,” stated Livingston. “We started in September and things were kind of slow at first, but we started picking up at the right time. We are reaching that peak. We had a lot of injuries at the beginning, but now we are getting everybody healthy at the right time.”