The Hilton Head Prep boys took their best shot at remaining the kings of their region, but their efforts came up just short Tuesday, as the Dolphins dropped a 55-54 decision to Bethesda Academy on Senior Night.
“I’m very proud of the effort our team gave tonight, we played a very good team, a well-coached team, and a one-point game between the top two in the region says a lot,” Hilton Head Prep coach Jerry Faulkner said.
Things were looking good for the Dolphins early, as the home team was picking the visiting Blazers apart in the opening minutes, flying to an 11-2 start. The Dolphins drained four threes in the opening quarter, as Tyrone Calloway took defenders with him to create open shots for Luke Bennett and Luke Foley before Calloway drained a shot from well beyond the arc.
However, Prep quickly went cold and Bethesda found their spark in Zyere Edwards, scoring 11 in the second period including a trio of threes, putting the visitors up two at the intermission. The squads combined for 11 triples in the first half.
Despite the first half dominance from deep, the Blazers turned to the paint to find success in the second, scoring all of their 12 third-quarter points inside the arc, extending the advantage to three. The Dolphins relied on their senior veterans, Calloway and Stone McDonald, to keep them afloat heading into the final eight minutes.
Like the game as a whole, the fourth quarter began with plenty of hope for the home team, as the student section came alive to force a couple defensive stops. And with the crowd coming alive, so did Calloway. The Dolphins’ main man unleashed fury on the Blazer defense, scoring a quick 10 points, including a fast break and-one followed by a reverse layup to give his team a five-point lead.
But Bethesda stepped up again, scoring several tough floaters and shots in the paint to go on a 10-2 run. After Kane Eanes made it a one-point game, the Dolphins forced a missed three but turned it right back over to the Blazers.
With time ticking away, the Dolphins were forced to foul, and Robert Moore made both free throws to bring the lead back to three. After drawing a foul, Eanes missed the front end of a one-and-one, and a rebound gave Tyrone Calloway one last shot to tie the game, but it wasn’t meant to be. Moore made another at the line, and that shot made the difference as the Blazers held on by one.
“We made some mistakes that we don’t normally make,” Faulkner said. “It’s a 32-minute game, and people normally only remember the end, but there were several mistakes that we made earlier.”
Edwards led the scoring output for Bethesda with 19, Donte Dorman added 10, and both Ivan Gooding and Moore finished with nine.
In his senior night farewell, Calloway left it all on the court, putting up 21 points. Foley scored 14, and McDonald led the team in rebounding.
“Our four seniors (Felipe Mendoza, Luke Bennett, Tyrone Calloway, and Stone McDonald) have done a great job in leadership and bringing the team together,” Faulkner said. “We might not be as talented as last year’s team but they are doing the best that they can. I am sorry that they came up short in their final home game, but as far as the effort goes tonight, they won.”
Hilton Head Prep (18-6, 9-2) travels to Pinewood Prep at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Story by Wes Kerr / Photos by Mindy Hopman
Wes Kerr is a graduate of Hilton Head Island High School and Davidson College. He has a passion for statistics and analytics.