Each week throughout the high school boys basketball season, we’ll recognize the standouts from the previous week’s action with the Lowco Boys Hoops Spotlight presented by Hilton Head Insurance and Brokerage.
We select an offensive and defensive player of the week, as well as a Team of the Week, and highlight the biggest game of the upcoming week.
Here’s this week’s installment of the Lowco Boys Hoops Spotlight presented by HHI&B.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
JJ Hayes, HHP
The hype preceded Hayes’ debut with his new team, but the junior has more than lived up to it thus far. Since moving from Atlanta earlier this year, Hayes has quickly bonded with his new HHP teammates, and it is paying immediate dividends on the court. The Dolphins are off to a 4-0 start with Hayes leading the way with 21 points, nine rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 blocks, and a steal per game, and he’s done it against some quality competition, including a pair of Georgia powerhouses. In Hayes, the Dolphins have a well-rounded superstar who makes everyone around him better, and HHP was already pretty darn good.
Also nominated: David Smith, BCHS; Oliver Holmes, BHS; Will McCracken, HHIHS; Eric Eastham, BLHS; AJ Singleton, WB; Jeremiah Young, JPII; James Layman, MRHS; Elijah Fess, BA
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Zyrin Odom, BHS
With his teammates lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 157 points in two wins over Beaufort Academy last week, Odom’s workmanlike effort took a bit of a backseat. But make no mistake, he was still a beast. The Eagles’ rock-solid forward quietly averaged seven points in the two wins while stuffing the stat sheet with 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, four steals, and 1.5 blocks per contest. He is a force on the offensive glass, gaining extra possessions for a team with plenty of guys who can take advantage of the additional opportunity to score.
Also nominated: Jordon Rivers, BCHS; Will McCracken, HHIHS; Jaylen Reeves, WB; Malone Kinard-Huisinger, JPII; Luke Foley, HHP; Steffin Gadson, MRHS; Ben VanHise, BA
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Battery Creek Dolphins (2-0)
In his first season as the head coach at his alma mater, CJ Brown paid his dues and took his lumps. The Dolphins were competitive, but they won only three games. By the time you read this, they might have matched that total this season. Creek started Brown’s second season in impressive fashion with road wins over Colleton County and Whale Branch, a pair of teams who made noise in the postseason a year ago. An influx of talented transfers has helped speed up the Dolphins’ rebuilding schedule, as former Ridgeland-Hardeeville standout Rashard Baker and Beaufort High transfer David Smith join dynamic point guard Jordon Rivers in a nasty backcourt. Kaya George, a transfer from New York, is a matchup problem on the wing or in the post, and the Dolphins have a number of bigs who can rip down boards and defend the paint.
Honorable Mention: Hilton Head Prep (2-0); Beaufort High (2-0); Bluffton (1-0); Hilton Head High (1-0)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Pinewood Prep at Hilton Head Prep, 7:30 p.m. Friday
The Dolphins are 4-0. The Panthers are 4-1 with a double-overtime loss to a quality opponent. This could be a preview of a rematch in the SCISA Class 3A state tournament, perhaps even fairly late in the proceedings. Hilton Head Prep has showcased its depth thus far with sharpshooters Kane Eanes and Ryan Mikell complementing Hayes at the offensive end, while pass-first point guard Jayden Chance is in paradise. Luke Foley might be the Dolphins’ most important player, though, locking down his man on defense and dominating the glass. This is likely to be HHP’s toughest test between now and the playoffs, so we’ll find out a lot more about both teams’ title hopes Friday night.