As the buzzer sounded to end a 40-point defeat at the hands of Hilton Head Prep, Beaufort Academy’s boys were itching for another crack at the Dolphins. Ten days later, the Eagles got that shot, and they made it count.
Ben VanHise delivered a monster 24-point performance to go with 10 rebounds and two assists, and Beaufort Academy stunned Hilton Head Prep at home in dominant fashion 60-40 Monday night.
“It feels really good,” Eagles head coach Bobby Smith said. “As a team, we wanted to come out and be ready to play because we knew they have a great coach and a great team. We just knew that we were a better team than when we played against them the first time. We hadn’t been able to put four quarters together, but tonight we did. We played defense, we rebounded, and we made some shots. I’m just happy to see my team come together.”
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Big Ben and the Eagles started fast, as VanHise outworked the Dolphins on both ends of the court, scoring six early points and giving his squad an early 14-5 advantage. Then Hilton Head Prep came alive in the second quarter, finding contributions all across the lineup to score 17 in the frame.
Sully Gay and Kevin Rogers came up big off the bench for BA to provide some important buckets, but a 17-8 run fueled by electric point guard Jayden Chance knotted the game at 22 going into halftime.
The second half was all Beaufort Academy. Despite a 10-point third quarter from Dolphins star JJ Hayes, HHP had no answer for VanHise, showing his remarkable versatility finishing past defenders at the rim and splashing a three to catapult his Eagles ahead.
The Beaufort Academy offense was clicking on all cylinders, as Ja’sean Lawson, Elijah Fess, and VanHise combined for a quartet of three-pointers in the third period to double up the Dolphins 24-12. Then the Eagles shut the door in the fourth, playing lockdown defense to limit a stunned Dolphin squad to just six more points while VanHise polished off an all-around masterpiece performance with seven more in the final minutes.
“I had a feeling that they came in thinking this would be an easy win, an easy matchup for them,” VanHise said. “But we had other plans. I finally had my standout game that I’ve been waiting for, and having it against JJ was a great feeling.”
Fess supported VanHise’s big night with three triples and 10 points, Lawson added seven points, and Rogers put up six in a highly-efficient nine minutes.
After a string of shaky offensive showings, Beaufort Academy was sizzling Monday night, shooting 8-of-16 from beyond the arc to complement VanHise’s dominance in the paint.
Hayes scored 16 and grabbed seven boards to lead the Dolphins, and Jayden Chance joined the junior in double figures with 10 points, six boards, and three assists. BA did a phenomenal job of defending HHP’s Kane Eanes and Ryan Mikell, who combined for 32 points in the first meeting but just nine in the rematch.
BA shot 52.1 percent from the field while holding the Dolphins to 30.4 percent, including 3-of-14 from 3-point range.
Beaufort Academy (8-8, 4-3) travels to Bethesda Academy on Tuesday.
Hilton Head Prep (12-4) hosts Colleton Prep on Thursday.
Written by Wes Kerr
Eric Ellison contributed to this report