Special to the Aiken Standard

The Aiken High girls’ basketball team out-paced the South Aiken Thoroughbreds on Tuesday night, racing out to a huge lead through three quarters before hanging on for a 41-29 home win.

Erin Gilmore led the Hornets (14-4, 4-1 Region 5-AAAA) with 17 points, many easy layups after making great plays on defense.

“For her, it’s been consistent,” Aiken coach Aubrey Pompey said, “She’s been doing that each night, so it’s not really anything unexpected.”

A strong overall defensive effort by the Hornets stifled the Thoroughbreds (7-4, 2-3 5-AAAA) early. Long arms inside clogged passing lanes and frustrated South Aiken shooters, resulting in a 39-11 Aiken lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“That’s what we’ve been able to do all year,” Pompey said. “Our defense has been the difference-maker for us. It’s been real solid.”

A pair of 10-0 runs, one in the first half and one in the second, allowed the Hornets to build an insurmountable advantage. The Thoroughbreds, on the other hand, were unable to string together consecutive scoring plays through the first three quarters.

With the game out of reach, but pride still on the line, South Aiken pieced together its best quarter of the game in the fourth, hitting three 3-pointers and outscoring Aiken 18-2. Kyasia Youmans scored 8 of her team-high 12 points in the period.

Alexis Odom also finished in double figures for the Hornets with 10 points. She and Gilmore turned up the defensive pressure right before halftime, as each recorded a steal and an easy layup in the final 30 seconds of the second quarter.

“The games that we’ve won, we’ve been able to make stops when we wanted to,” Pompey said. “That’s huge for us.”

The Hornets will next play at White Knoll on Friday night, while the Thoroughbreds host Dutch Fork.

SA 4 4 3 18 – 29

A 11 13 15 2 – 41

South Aiken (7-4, 2-3 Region 5-AAAA)—Kyasia Youmans 4 2-4 12, Makenzie Smith 2 2-4 6, Brooke Hutto 2 0-0 5, Bri Parks 2 0-0 4, Morgan Fair 1 0-6 2. Totals: 11 4-14 29.

3-pointers: Youmans (2), Hutto.

Aiken (14-4, 4-1 Region 5-AAAA)—Erin Gilmore 8 1-3 17, Alexis Odom 5 0-0 10, Hanna Williams 2 0-1 4, Jhay Graham 1 0-0 3, Rebekah Muir 1 0-0 3, Sophie Nance 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 3-6 41.

3-pointers: Graham, Muir.