Hilton Head Prep’s boys were looking to build off a perfect 4-0 start, but they met their match Friday night.
Junior guards Nashon Hudson and Tariq Shabazz found their stroke from deep late to break open a tie game, and the visiting Pinewood Prep Panthers sank 12 3-pointers Friday to hand the Dolphins their first loss, 56-50.
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The visitors found their offensive rhythm first, opening up a 14-6 advantage on the strength of a Shabazz 3 and a Hudson and-one. But the Dolphins stayed in it through their hard work on the boards. Luke Foley and Kane Eanes fought for rebound after rebound to earn second-chance points, keeping the Dolphins within five. Then JJ Hayes took over in the second. The new Dolphin star sank a 3, splashed a tough jumper, and finished at the rim on his way to a 10-point quarter, sparking a 23-point HHP output. Eanes cashed in on a sweet feed from Jayden Chance and scored off a rebound before nailing a corner 3 at the buzzer to put his team up by five at halftime.
The defenses tightened up in the third, as the squads combined for just 12 points in the period. A pretty floater from Ryan Mikell and a dazzling Foley layup extended the Prep lead to eight, but a Price Lenior 3 gave the Panthers some energy going into the final period.
The fourth quarter was a complete disaster for the home squad, as several Dolphin turnovers led to key scores at the other end. Hayes and Mikell cashed in from deep, but an early Panther surge and a pair of triples from a red-hot Hudson tied the game at 45. From that point on, it was all Pinewood Prep.
Hilton Head Prep couldn’t hold on to the basketball and the Panthers made them pay, as Sam Graham followed up a Hudson go-ahead bucket with a trey. Then Hudson did it again, sinking a nasty step-back triple to cap off an 11-point fourth before Tariq Shabazz laid down the dagger from the corner.
Foley answered with a 3, but it was much too late for the Dolphins, who lost control with too many unforced errors in a sluggish second half. But they also showed they can compete with anyone, even a solid 3A squad like Pinewood.
Foley put together a fantastic night for Hilton Head Prep, posting a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Hayes poured in 17 points, along with a solid eight rebounds and four assists. Eanes contributed nine points and seven boards, and Mikell added five points. Shabazz scored 17 and Hudson put up 14 to lead a flaming Panther backcourt.
Hilton Head Prep (4-1) is back in action Saturday, traveling to Habersham School.
Written by Wes Kerr / Photos by Justin Jarrett
Wes Kerr is a graduate of Hilton Head Island High School and Davidson College. He has a passion for statistics and analytics.