After a month-long hiatus, Hilton Head Prep’s boys were on a mission to hit the ground running. In their first four games back, they’ve made quite a statement.
Led by another double-double from JJ Hayes, Hilton Head Prep made quick work of their island foes Friday, downing Hilton Head Christian at home 60-35 to pick up their fourth straight victory.
“It was awesome,” Hayes said. “I was happy to see the team passing the rock, getting everyone shots, and getting our bench in at the end and having fun tonight.”
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It took a few minutes to warm up, but the Dolphins caught fire early. Hayes and Kane Eanes provided the spark, as the duo scored on four straight possessions to open the contest on a 9-1 run. Eanes started it off with a layup before Hayes took over with a putback followed by a hammer slam, putting the crowd on their feet. Then the Dolphins found their range from deep, The offense was majestic, as Jerry Faulkner’s group moved the ball around to find the open shooter in the corner every time, whether it was Ryan Mikell, Eanes, or Hayes. JJ capped off a stellar nine-point opening quarter with a pair of free throws to make it a commanding 17-6 lead.
The Dolphins continued to blow it open in the second. The offense continued its terrific efficiency at the rim and beyond the arc, and the defense put tremendous pressure on Hilton Head Christian’s shooters, allowing just one made field goal in the quarter. Hayes and Mikell continued their outstanding touch from deep, and Jayden Chance turned it on with a flashy drive to the hoop, extending the lead to 20 points at the halfway stage.
Andrew Helms and Wells Sharpe combined for a flurry of threes to try to mount a rally, but the hometown Dolphins answered every time. Mikell banged a pair of treys to start the second half, and Hayes continued his lights-out play. The standout junior finished at the rim for two before finding teammate Luke Foley for a pair of layups, as the Dolphins continued to outhustle the Eagles on both ends of the floor to grow the lead to 25. Foley added a triple himself in the fourth and Jayden Chance wowed the fans with a reverse layup before the starters exited the game early.
JJ Hayes led the stellar Dolphin effort with a phenomenal stat line: 21 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Ryan Mikell sank a quartet of threes for 12 points, and Kane Eanes joined Mikell with 12 and added four boards. Luke Foley was an all-around force, scoring seven points to go along with nine rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, while Jayden Chance dished out seven assists and added five steals.
“It’s been such a refreshing change this year,” Hayes said.”They’re so much fun to be around on and off the court. They’re so supportive of me, especially my coaches over the past six months.”
Andrew Helms scored 10 to lead the Eagles and Sharpe added six on a pair of threes. It was a frustrating night for the HHCA offense, as the big three of Jace Blackshear, JP Peduzzi, and Isaiah Anderson was held to just nine total points.
Prior to the game, Abi Mendoza led a moment of silence in remembrance of fellow student John Berrigan who recently lost his life.
“I had a couple of classes with him and just seeing how much his death struck the school and seeing everyone lifeless is so hard,” Hayes said. “Thoughts and prayers to his family.”
Hilton Head Prep (9-2) travels to Thomas Heyward on Wednesday.
Hilton Head Christian (3-8, 0-4) plays at Coastal Homeschool on Monday.
Written by Wes Kerr / Video by Ervin Lassiter