By Justin Jarrett | LowcoSports@gmail.com
Hilton Head Prep coach Jerry Faulkner already is a legend – he needs only 12 wins to surpass 800 in his career – and he has the kind of roster that could add another line to his impressive resumé.
The Dolphins have added some key transfers to a team that returns leading scorer Haddith Stewart from last year’s 22-5 squad, making them the team to beat in SCISA Region 4-2A.
Plenty of teams will have something to say about that, though, including an upstart John Paul II team that made a big jump in year two and went 18-9 a year ago. The Golden Warriors also added a handful of transfers to a talented group of returners and figure to challenge for the region title.
Beaufort Academy has a young team but an accomplished new coach in former Beaufort High coach Nathan Livesay, and Thomas Heyward and Hilton Head Christian Academy figure to be scrappy teams that will give opponents fits.
FIVE TO WATCH
• Haddith Stewart, HHP: Averaged 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds while draining 62 3-pointers a year ago.
• Rashad Battiste, JPII: Put up 18.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game before suffering torn ACL in last game last season and will be a huge boost for the Golden Warriors if cleared to return.
• Floyd Hargrove, HHCA: Point guard averaged 8.5 points and four assists as a freshman and the offense will run through him this year.
• Dawson Coleman, BA: Sophomore guard is Eagles’ top returning scorer at 11 points per game last season.
• Bryce Tillotson, THA: Big man led Rebels in scoring and was second in rebounding as a sophomore last year.
Coach: Nathan Livesay
Overall record: 192-87 (11 seasons)
Record at school: First season at BA
2016-17 record: 16-7
Returning letterwinners: 4
Top returners: G Dawson Coleman, Soph.; C Jaxon Spratling, Sr.; Edward McCormick, Jr.; William Tumlin, Soph.
Key losses: Kevin Williams, Luke Harper, Chris Boggs, William Lindsay, Jalen Moon
Top newcomers: F David Matthai, Jr.; Daniel Richards, Jr.; F Thomas Holliday, Soph.; G De’Shaun Epps, Soph.; G Ben Trask, Soph.; F Max Emerson, Sr.
Coach’s outlook: With a late coaching change and the loss of six seniors including two 1,000-point career scorers, things will look very different at BA this year. We will be very young, but I like the potential of this group. We will work hard and play hard and look for constant improvement throughout the season.
HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Coach: Mac Tamminen
Overall record: 53-71 (5 seasons)
Record at school: 53-71 (5 seasons)
2016-17 record: 10-15
Returning letterwinners: 2
Top returners: PG Floyd Hargrove, Soph.; SG Brennan Studenc, Jr.
Key losses: C Cole Webster
Top newcomers: F Lukas O’Grady, Jr.; G JP Peduzzi, Fr.; G Liam Sirgo, Fr.
Coach’s outlook: We are a relatively young team, so we must come up the curve quickly and adapt to the speed and physicality of what will be a very strong region.
HILTON HEAD PREP
Coach: Jerry Faulkner
Overall record: 788-273 (38 seasons)
Record at school: 84-49 (5 seasons)
2016-17 record: 22-5
Returning letterwinners: 7
Top returners: G Haddith Stewart, Jr.; F Stone McDonald, Soph.
Key losses: F Javonne Watson, G Mac Orie, F Ben Jackson
Top newcomers: F Avern Montaque, Jr.; G Tyrone Calloway, Soph.
Coach’s outlook: We had a great summer and fall with individual workouts and open gyms. Hopefully that will help us to get off to a good start as we face some excellent teams right out of the gate. I feel we have some dedicated player, but we will see how soon everyone learns the system and accepts their role. I like this team both on and off the court.
JOHN PAUL II
Coach: Stacy Benedik
Overall record: 24-27 (2 seasons)
Record at school: 24-27 (2 seasons)
2016-17 record: 18-9
Returning letterwinners: 5
Top returners: F Rashad Battiste, Jr.; G Nyleem Wright, Sr.; G Thomas Kender, Sr.
Key losses: F Karl Johnson; C Blake Parsons
Top newcomers: F Zack Doe, Jr.; G Melik Frost, Soph.
Coach’s outlook: I believe we will be as deep as anyone in the league. We have a very good blend of senior leaders who have been in the program for three-plus years and as many as seven newcomers that will really add to our depth and athleticism.
Coach: Bob Layman
Overall record: 12-36 (2 seasons)
Record at school: 12-36 (2 seasons)
2016-17 record: 5-18
Returning letterwinners: 6
Top returners: Trace Lowther, Sr.; Dalton Steedley, Sr.; Matt Malphrus, Sr.; Owen White, Sr.; Logan Thomas, Sr.; Bryce Tillotson, Jr.
Key losses: Blake Bannon, Jonah Young
Top newcomers: Joseph Gibson; Roman Padgett; Johnny Brendlen; Bobby Payne, Soph.; Zack Black, Fr.; Bruzza Pusha, Fr.; JR Patterson, Fr.
Coach’s outlook: With the addition of some speedy, aggressive players we will look to put a lot of pressure on some very strong region opponents. Don’t be surprised if this young team upsets some of the big dogs.