When it comes to the local boys basketball scene, it’s Ridgeland-Hardeeville and everyone else. While the rest of the area’s public school programs are in various stages of rebuilding, the Jaguars are reloading for another run at a state title.
The Jags lost only twice last season, but one of them was in the Class 3A state championship. They return their top two players in guards Rashamel and Devin Butler, as well as a cast of talented players ready to take on bigger roles.
The picture is a little less clear around the rest of the area, where coaches are trying to piece together their lineups after losing key players. Bluffton has to fill the void left by Class 3A Player of the Year Jermaine Patterson’s graduation, Hilton Head High gradated three of its top four players, May River said goodbye to six seniors, and Whale Branch turned over its entire starting lineup.
Then there’s Beaufort High, where new coach Will Lowther is building from the ground up after a two-win season a year ago.
There could be rough times early in the season for all those rebuilding squads, but they’ll hope to round into form in time for region play and the postseason.
FIVE TO WATCH
• Devin Butler, Sr., G, RHHS: First-team All-Lowco shooting guard averaged 11.7 points last season
• Rashamel Butler, Sr., G, RHHS: Stat-stuffing point guard put up 18.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 2.5 steals per contest as a junior
• Davis Molloy, Sr., G/F, HHIHS: Huntingdon College signee scored 9.8 points per game as a junior
• Josh Patterson, Sr., F, MRHS: Skilled post player averaged 8.6 points and 8.2 rebounds a year ago and will be focus of offense this season
• Donovan Raines, Sr., F, BLHS: High-energy post player collected 10.1 points and 8.4 boards per game last year
Coach: Antoine Youmans
Overall record: 96-98 (9 seasons)
Record at school: 96-98 (9 seasons)
2017-18 record: 6-15
Top returners: F Daquan Burton, Sr.; F Myles Middleton, Sr.; G Denarol Brown, Sr.
Key losses: G Trey Chancey, F Brandon Wilson
Outlook: The Dolphins struggled last season, but they return a trio of talented seniors to try to lead a turnaround in a region in which a playoff spot is very much within reach.
Coach: Will Lowther
Overall record: 19-6 (1 season)
Record at school: First season
2017-18 record: 2-21
Top returners: PG Trae Heyward, Sr.; SG Jamadd Rivers, Jr.; PF Warren Dickens, Jr.
Key losses: F Daijion Galloway, F Ethan Leana
Top newcomers: SF Josh Aiken, Jr.; SG Oliver Holmes, Soph.
Outlook: The Eagles are looking for a fresh start with their third head coach in three years. Guard play should be a strength, so they will look to use that to their advantage as they aim to rebound from a rough season.
Coach: Michael Tew
Record at school: 22-24 (2 seasons)
2017-18 record: 15-9
Top returners: G Ramell Rivers, Sr.; F Donovan Raines, Sr.; C Lee Kirkland, Jr.; G Shamar Sandgren, Jr.
Key losses: G Jermaine Patterson; G Richard Jenkins; F TaVaughn Hamilton
Top newcomers: G Jatelvyan Mosley, Jr.; F Eric Eastham, Soph.; F Tyler Rice, Jr.
Outlook: The Bobcats will have a new look with Class 3A Player of the Year Jermaine Patterson gone to graduation. They will have to run more offense than in the past and look to get the ball inside to a pair of strong post players in Raines and Kirkland. Tew likes the team’s chemistry and is excited about the prospects.
HILTON HEAD HIGH
Coach: Ken Updike
Overall record: 81-114 (9 seasons)
Record at school: 81-114 (9 seasons)
2017-18 record: 10-13
Top returners: G/F Davis Molloy, Sr.; G Dean Seelbach, Jr.; G/F Gaston Moore, Jr.; F Jordan Singleton, Jr.
Key losses: G Trevor Wright; G Lance Jackson; F Chris Washington
Top newcomers: Many
Outlook: The Seahawks have to replace their top two scorers, top three rebounders, and team leader in assists. Molloy is the only senior on the roster and will be the go-to guy. How quickly the younger players are able to adjust to bigger roles at the varsity level will determine the team’s success.
Coach: Matt Whitmore
Overall record: 23-18 (2 seasons)
Record at school: 23-18 (2 seasons)
2017-18 record: 9-9
Top returners: F Josh Patterson, Sr.; G Jack Hegan, Sr.; PG Deshawn Martin, Sr.
Key losses: Ryan Livingston, Isaiah Byam, Camden Davis
Top newcomers: G Cooper George, Soph.; G Steffin Gadson, Soph.; F Nick Bass, Sr.
Outlook: It could be tough sledding early on, as the Sharks had to replace six seniors and a large portion of the roster only began practice the day before the season opener because of commitments to the football team. Patterson will be the first option on a team that will rely more on playing through the post than in the past.
Coach: Jeremiah Faber
Overall record: 539 wins (33 seasons)
Record at school: 539 wins (33 seasons)
2017-18 record: 23-2
Top returners: PG Rashamel Butler, Sr.; SG Devin Butler, Sr.; F DeQuandre Hamilton, Sr.; SG Jertaveon Smalls, Sr.; SG Sameel Ford, Sr.; PG Rashad Baker, Soph.; SG Amier Wilson, Sr.; F Ronald Zimmerman, Sr.
Key losses: Diamonte Robinson, Jabari Williams, William Westbrook, Myles Pinckney
Top newcomers: SG Nygel Boozer, Sr.; C Jeremiah Orr, Jr.; F Mauriq Singleton, Jr.; SG Sa’Leaf Cherry, Jr.
Outlook: The Jags begin the season ranked first in Class 3A and are reloaded for another deep playoff run. A deep roster loaded with talent allows Faber to play an up-tempo style at both ends. The defense will fuel the offense with transition opportunities.
Coach: Jim Raymond
Overall record: 35-35 (3 seasons)
Record at school: 35-35 (3 seasons)
2017-18 record: 7-16
Top returners: C/F Nick Pringle, Jr.; G JaQuan Watson, Sr.; G RaQuan Brisbane, Sr.
Key losses: G Xzavier Bryan, F Robert Alston, F Roshard Campbell, F Richard Campbell, G Jaylen Reeves
Top newcomers: C/F Shawn Chisolm, Jr.
Outlook: The Warriors had to replace their entire starting lineup, which leaves a lot of questions entering the season. But Raymond likes his team’s work ethic, and size in the frontcourt should be a strength.
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