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
We promise someone else will win this award this season, but not this week. Hayes was just too good. Pinewood Prep made it a point to harass Hayes on Friday, and the Panthers succeeded early on, but he still managed to make the adjustments and grind out a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards in a tough loss. Less than 24 hours after a physical game, Hayes came back with 32 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Dolphins to a solid road win at Habersham School. The Atlanta-area transfer is averaging 22.2 points and 9.3 boards through his first six games with his new team.
Also nominated: Rashard Baker, BCHS; Ben Frey, BA; Sam Summa, HHIHS; Matthew Torres, Bridges; AJ Singleton, WB; James Layman, MRHS
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
David Smith, BCHS
Since moving over from Beaufort High, Smith has been a revelation for the Dolphins, merging with Jordon Rivers and Ridgeland-Hardeeville transfer Rashard Baker to form one of the Lowco’s most formidable backcourts. Smith has been among the scoring leaders for Creek just about every game during a 4-0 start, but it’s largely because of his defensive efforts. The junior guard has swiped 16 steals in four games — including eight in a win over Colleton County on Tuesday — and averaged 13.5 points, six boards, and five steals in two wins over quality opponents this week. Don’t get it twisted, Smith can knock down a jumper, but he’s at his best when he’s jumping in passing lanes and creating breakaways.
Also nominated: Jeremiah Young, JPII; Sully Gay, BA; Alex Smith, HHIHS; Luke Foley, HHP; Jaylen Reeves, WB
TEAM OF THE WEEK
John Paul II Golden Warriors (3-0 last week, 4-0 overall)
Since moving over from Hilton Head Christian Academy three years ago, Mac Tamminen has quietly built John Paul II into a solid program. Tamminen inherited a solid foundation from Stacy Benedik and has continued to develop talent within the program. This particular Golden Warriors roster doesn’t jump out at you on paper, but JPII is loaded with athleticism, grit, and interchangeable parts. Mark Knight, Jackson Ogden, and Jeremiah Young form a dangerous backcourt, Austin McIntosh is a relentless rebounder and defender, and Malone Kinard-Huisinger and Christian Tilton are a handful to handle in the paint. And it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. JPII finally lost a JV game, but the varsity and middle school boys remain undefeated, signs that the pipeline is going to keep producing for years to come.
Honorable Mention: Battery Creek (2-0); Hilton Head Prep (1-1); Whale Branch (1-0)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Beaufort Academy at Battery Creek, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
The boys hoops scene north of the Broad River has really taken a big step up in the past couple of seasons, resulting in some excellent cross-classification matchups thanks to the scheduling of a handful of coaches and ADs who recognize the value of these Lowco-on-Lowco clashes. Battery Creek has been the area’s most pleasant surprise thus far, starting 4-0 after winning just three games a year ago, but second-year coach CJ Brown knows BA has been sharpened by a tough early schedule and will be gunning for the undefeated Dolphins. With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous players exploring different schools over the summer and fall, there are some underlying individual grudges here, too, so everyone is sure to leave it all on the court.
Honorable Mention: Beaufort High at Bluffton (Tuesday); Bluffton at Hilton Head High (Friday); Hilton Head Prep at Northwood Academy (Friday); Battery Creek at May River (Saturday)
(Offensive, Defensive, Team)
Week 1: JJ Hayes, HHP; Zyrin Odom, BHS; Battery Creek
Week 2: JJ Hayes, HHP; David Smith, BCHS; John Paul II