He’s only played a handful of games, but Will McCracken has already etched his name in Seahawk basketball lore. On a Friday night in Mount Pleasant, the senior and UNCW commit rewrote the Hilton Head High’s boys basketball record books, exploding for 43 points and shooting 8-of-11 from beyond the arc to break the program’s single-game scoring mark and lead Hilton Head High to a 96-49 stomping of region 7-4A newcomer Lucy Beckham.
“It was just a fun night,” said McCracken, who didn’t even play the fourth quarter. “My shot kept falling and the team was just trying to get me the ball to keep shooting. My shots have been a little off the last couple games and last night just felt more like myself.”
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The shooting clinic began right from the start. Once the senior nailed a couple shots from deep, the ‘Hawks rode the hot hand to an astounding five first-quarter three-pointers en route to a 29-17 lead. McCracken was like a man possessed, playing with overflowing confidence and knocking down shot after shot.
The NBA Jam cheat-code-like performance continued into the second quarter, as a flaming-hot McCracken poured in another 13 to finish with 30 points in just the first half alone. The superstar was a nightmare to guard and tremendously efficient, having his way attacking the rim and sinking shots from downtown.
But McCracken wasn’t the only Seahawk raining threes. His presence all around the court created the opportunity for open looks for his teammates, and fellow sharpshooter Adam Clark took advantage, nailing a trio of triples himself in the second period to balloon the lead to 62-19. The offense was the headliner, but the defense was just as remarkable, allowing just two Bengal points in the frame thanks to the elite defensive intensity of McCracken, Alex Smith, and Sam Summa.
The man of the hour returned for a second half encore, scoring 13 of the team’s 17 in the third to cap off a night for the ages before taking a well-deserved rest in the final eight minutes. Junior Jayden Gilliam-Singleton shined in McCracken’s absence, putting up nine in the fourth quarter as his explosiveness from the gridiron transferred to the court in a big way. Peter Tobin and Zac Morris each added a triple, bringing the squad’s three-point total to an incredible 13, eight of them from McCracken.
Summa backed up McCracken’s monstrous effort with 10 points, and both Gilliam-Singleton and Clark added nine on a night where 12 different Seahawks found the score sheet. McCracken accounted for 43 of those points, breaking the program mark of 33 set back in 2005 by Josh Peters. His eight made threes tied a Hilton Head record, matched only with Peters from a Seahawk Holiday Classic game in 2004 against Paintsville (Ky.).
“It was fun to watch Will catch fire,” head coach Chane Brown said. “Every shot looked like it was going in. He was 16-of-21 from the field and 8-of-11 from three. He was just in the zone. I feel he is becoming more comfortable. It’s always tough in a new environment, but he has settled in as a leader of his team nicely. He is respected by all of his teammates.”
McCracken has catapulted his Seahawks to a tremendous 6-0 region start, but there is much more work to be done. Even if they run the regular-season table, they’ll have to come through in a special region tournament to win the title and clinch home-court advantage through the Lower State playoffs.
The Seahawks (8-2, 6-0) will automatically clinch a spot in the postseason should they finish the regular season as the No. 1 seed, and will look to become region champs for just the third time in their history, and their first since 2005.
“I obviously can’t do that alone,” McCracken said. “My team’s support just made the game fun and exciting. It was a great win, now we got to go get Bluffton at home.”
Written by Wes Kerr