Throughout the high school boys basketball season, we 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
Ben VanHise, BA
A major part of deciding these honors is not just what you do, but who you do it against. After a 40-point defeat at the hands of Hilton Head Prep, Big Ben came through in a monster way in the rematch. The Methodist University-bound senior dropped 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting and added 10 rebounds against JJ Hayes and company, shocking the Dolphins in a dominant 60-40 win Monday. VanHise showed his versatile skillset on offense, scoring down low in the paint, using his strength to beat his matchups in the post, and draining shots from outside. He’s a tremendous forward that brings a variety of talents to the table and led a BA team desperate for a big region win to a monstrous victory over a dangerous Hilton Head Prep squad.
Honorable Mention: Daniel Phares, BHS; Jace Blackshear, HHCA; Mark Knight, JPII; Kane Eanes, HHP; Jayden Chance, HHP; Gavin Blocker, MRHS
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Melvin Teal Jr., CPA
What if we told you that a Lowco player averaged over 21 points per game with three double-doubles over the past week and a half? And what if we told you he’s just an eighth-grader? Enter Melvin Teal Jr., who has quickly risen to become a budding star at Colleton Prep. The Cane Bay transfer has become a one-man wrecking crew on both ends of the court, leading the War Hawks to a 3-1 stretch including a huge region victory over John Paul II on Tuesday with 16 points and 14 rebounds — and he had 19 points and 14 boards in a loss to Hilton Head Prep, too. His ability to score the ball, snatch away boards, and lock down defensively to lead the way for his varsity squad has been remarkable at such a young age. With four more years to grow his athletic frame and skillset all around the court, the sky’s the limit for this rising local phenom.
Honorable Mention: JJ Hayes, HHP; Isaiah Anderson, HHCA; Braxton Tolbert, BA; Naz Johnson, CPA; Sam Summa, HHIHS
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Hilton Head Island Seahawks (2-0 last week, 10-2 overall)
While the top area SCISA teams ran into trouble this past week, the Seahawks have stayed the course, taking care of both Bluffton and Beaufort to stay unbeaten in Region 7-4A. It wasn’t smooth sailing, but Hilton Head powered through adversity to get the job done against some talented local sides looking to pull off the big upset. With Will McCracken and Sam Summa in some early foul trouble against the Bobcats last week, Adam Clark, Na’keydrick Black, and Alex Smith stepped up to lead the offense, overcoming a first-half deficit to win 61-51. Clark’s four threes on his Senior Night proved to be the difference. After losing McCracken to a head injury in the second half against Beaufort on Friday, the Seahawk offense dug in and finished the job. An unlikely hero emerged, as Karyce Campbell scored four massive points in the fourth quarter to hold off a furious Eagle rally and escape with a three-point win. Hilton Head also did it without star athlete Jaylen Sneed, a valuable defender, potent finisher, and monster force on the boards. They might not have been the dominant victories this squad has been used to, but the Seahawks overcame multiple setbacks to stay perfect in the region and set their crosshairs on a rematch with James Island on Wednesday.
Honorable Mention: May River (1-0), Colleton Prep (3-1)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Hilton Head High at James Island, Wednesday
The Hilton Head Seahawks are just one win away from their first regular season region championship since 2005. But standing in their way is a dangerous James Island squad hungry for revenge. If the ‘Hawks pick up the win or lose by less than four points, they take the regular-season crown and make their life a lot easier next week, locking up a state playoff spot and earning a first-round bye in the region tournament. The Trojans have reeled off four straight victories in dominant fashion, beating their opponents by a whopping 36 points per game. Senior guard Bailey Wiseman comes into the contest red-hot, exploding for 29 points in a 89-57 smacking of Bluffton as four Trojans finished in double figures. Hilton Head’s defense will have to perform at a high level and limit easy looks for an offense that has found their groove. Wiseman is a threat to score in the paint and from beyond the arc, and the game could come down to his play down the stretch. The Seahawks have found production across the starting lineup with the explosiveness and passing vision of Alex Smith, the outside shooting of Adam Clark, and the strength and rebounding of Sam Summa. The supporting cast will have to step up if McCracken is given major attention by the Trojan defense. Both teams know how important this one is, and it should be a nail-biter all the way down to the end as the Seahawks look to cap off a memorable 2021 regular season and lock down their spot in the SCHSL playoffs.
(Offensive, Defensive, Team)
Week 1: JJ Hayes, HHP; Zyrin Odom, BHS; Battery Creek
Week 2: JJ Hayes, HHP; David Smith, BCHS; John Paul II
Week 3: Ben VanHise, BA; Jaeon Allen, BCHS; Beaufort High
Week 4: Will McCracken, HHIHS; JJ Hayes, HHP; Whale Branch
Week 5: JJ Hayes, HHP; Melvin Teal Jr., CPA; May River
Week 6: Will McCracken, HHIHS; Will McCracken, HHIHS; Hilton Head Prep
Week 7: Ben VanHise, BA; Melvin Teal Jr., CPA; Hilton Head High