COLUMBIA, SC–It was standing room only at C.A. Johnson High as Allen took on SIAC rival and downtown Columbia neighbor Benedict Saturday afternoon.
The gym had an electric atmosphere as the on-court action of the women’s teams lived up to the hype with Benedict staving off a late-game surge by Allen to win 73-66.
Benedict’s Madison Golden led all scorers with 26 points to go with 10 rebounds. Taylor Christmas had 19 for the Tigers.
Allen was led by Cardrina Nolen’s 16 points and eight rebounds, followed by Keyshuna Fair with 14, Destinee Jameson-Whitefield with 13 and Jazeem Bethea with 11.
The Tigers were able to build a sizeable lead in the third with an offensive explosion as they outscored the Yellow Jackets 32-13 during that period.
Benedict head coach James Rice said it started with the defense and led to some easy baskets on the offensive end.
The Yellow Jackets kept themselves in the game thanks to fourth quarter pressure from Bethea. The senior had three steals in the period and sparked a comeback as Allen was suddenly down just ten.
Allen head coach Toccara Toland said that Bethea is the engine that makes the Yellow Jackets go.
“Jaz is a special kid,” she said. “The team goes where she goes so whenever she picks it up, the team just follows her lead.”
Benedict was still able to get some keep stops down the stretch and hang on to get the win.
Tigers head coach James Rice said he’s proud of what the rivalry has become and feels Benedict has to keep holding up their end of the bargain and make each game competitive.
Toland said she feels the rivalry is great not just for the city but for the conference as well.