Domination! Camden tops Wren to win Class 3A girls basketball championship

Late in Saturday’s state championship game, Camden coach Natalie Norris turned to the crowd and implored them to stand up.

It was a special moment for the Bulldogs girls basketball program as senior Joyce Edwards left the court for the final time in her high school career.

Edwards walked slowly to the Camden bench and fans erupted in cheers as the Bulldogs defeated Wren 44-22 to win their second-straight Class 3A state championship at the Florence Center.

“It was so special just being able to have that opportunity for one last salute to an amazing career,” Norris said. “Just incredible. … She finished in fine fashion.”

It was the program’s fifth title as Edwards ended one of the most prolific careers in state history. Playing in front of USC women’s coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks signee turned in another dominant performance with 27 points, 20 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Edwards finished her career with 3,964 points, trailing only former York great Ivory Latta’s 4,319. Edwards was a part of 124 victories in her six seasons on Camden’s varsity squad and three trips to the state championship game.

She had a flood of emotions going through her when she came out of the game for the last time, she said.

“I was thinking of being in the seventh grade and losing in the first round to Pendleton High School and now making history in my school,” Edwards said. “It’s just crazy.”

After the game, Staley and assistant coach Jolette Law went up and hugged Edwards and posed for pictures for several minutes. Edwards, a McDonald’s All-American, is the Gamecocks’ top-ranked recruit in Staley’s 2024 class.

Edwards helped make Camden basketball a big must-see event. The school honored her earlier this week with an assembly for becoming Camden’s first McDonald’s All-American.

The Bulldogs have played in several prestigious tournaments and showcase events, the first girls game at the Chick-fil-A Classic tournament.

“It is a little bittersweet. I’m excited to go to USC next year,” said Edwards, who had some tears in her eyes while talking to reporters. “But I am excited I got to see the growth of Camden High School basketball.”

Edwards was one of six Camden seniors on the roster. Another one, Zyasia Carter, got to be on the court for a brief final moment. Carter suffered a knee injury the day before the third-round game against Lower Richland and hasn’t played since.

Carter entered the game for the final seven seconds with her knee in a brace.

“Zy has meant so much to us,” Norris said. “She is a five-year starter and hasn’t so much as sat out a drill much less miss a game. ... This team is like my heart. We have been together so long and so many special memories.”

Saturday’s game was the second-straight year Wren and Camden met in the title game. The Bulldogs won 61-45 last year and were even more dominant Saturday. Camden held the Hurricanes to their lowest point total since Feb. 3, 2017 when they lost 45-21 to Pickens.

Wren shot 18.6% from the field and was 0 of 13 from 3-point range. All-state selection Raina McGowens was held to four points.

Camden trailed once in the game at 2-0 and led 20-13 at halftime.

Edwards had 21 of her team’s first 29 points and notched her 22nd double-double of the season.

C: Mungo 9, Jefferson 3, Champion 5, Joyce Edwards 27.. W: McGowens 4, Hooker 4, Hayes 6, Garrison 2, Randolph 6.