In a high school basketball season unlike any other, a new and exciting wrinkle is coming to the Lowco. The first SCHSL Region 7-4A basketball tournament beginning Friday will determine which two teams will represent the region in the Class 4A playoffs.
The event, featuring all seven region teams, will tip off Friday with three opening-round games. The semifinals will be played on Monday and the championship game will take place on Thursday. All contests will be hosted by the higher seed with the exception of a possible semifinal matchup between James Island and May River, which would be played at a neutral site.
With a perfect 9-0 region mark, the Hilton Head High Seahawks earned the top seed, receiving a first-round bye and clinching an automatic berth in the state playoffs. The winner of the tournament will receive the region’s second spot in the postseason and the number one playoff seed, giving the victors home-court advantage through the Lower State semifinals. If Hilton Head wins the tourney, the runner-up will receive the second playoff spot.
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SCHSL REGION 7-4A TOURNAMENT BOYS First Round | Friday, Feb. 12 Game 1: No. 5 Bluffton at No. 4 Beaufort High, 7:30 p.m. Game 2: No. 7 Lucy Beckham at No. 2 James Island, 6 p.m. Game 3: No. 6 Colleton County at No. 3 May River, 7:30 p.m. Semifinals | Monday, Feb. 15 Game 4: G1 winner at Hilton Head High Game 5: G2 winner vs. G3 winner (site TBD) Finals | Thursday, Feb. 18 Game 6: G4 winner vs. G5 winner (higher seed hosts)
The Seahawks enter the tournament on a sensational run, led by senior superstar and undisputed Region 7-4A player of the year Will McCracken. The UNC Wilmington commit has played at a level rarely seen in the Lowcountry, averaging 21.2 points and 9.8 rebounds including a 43-point outburst at Lucy Beckham, breaking the program’s single-game scoring mark. Sam Summa has been a reliable presence in the paint, averaging a double-double with his tremendous rebounding ability and shooting touch while excelling as a rim-protector on the defensive end. Alex Smith has made tremendous strides passing the ball as a point guard, and Adam Clark is a dangerous three-point shooter on the perimeter.
Hilton Head will face the winner of Friday’s first-round matchup between Bluffton and Beaufort High. The fourth-seeded Eagles are flying high heading into the tournament, finishing off the regular season with an impressive 57-45 win over May River. Flashy senior guard Oliver Holmes leads the way, while Zyrin Odom will look to continue his beastly work on the glass, averaging over 10 rebounds per game. Seniors Rush Riley and Daniel Phares can rack up points in a hurry, and will give every ounce in their potential final game. But a scrappy Bobcat squad will be a tough challenge, led by stellar shooter Eric Eastham along with fellow senior guards Kylan Simmons and Tre Brown and explosive wing Jaylin Linder.
The two region newcomers will face off in Friday’s first round, as first-year program Lucy Beckham hits the road to challenge a solid James Island squad. Dynamic senior guard Bailey Wiseman will lead his Trojans into battle in what should be a cakewalk against a young Bengal side.
The Beckham-James Island winner gets the survivor of Colleton County and May River, which should be an intriguing matchup. There’s no doubt that the Sharks are the favorites, led by three-point marksman Gavin Blocker, stellar post player Brady Harrell, and prolific scorer James Layman. But the Cougars will certainly be a tough out. Silas Holmes is a fantastic shooter from deep, and Brian Hamilton has become an exciting freshman to watch with terrific multi-level scoring ability. Senior Alston Sherrill, the brother of former Cougar and USC Salk hoops star Alex, who lost his life in January, will give it his all while carrying on his brother’s phenomenal spirit.
If both James Island and May River qualify for the semifinals, the game will be played at a neutral site, since the two squads both have two losses and did not play each other during the regular season.
With so much on the line, and in a region that has been marked by season splits and back-and-forth battles, it should be an exciting week of hoops in the Lowco.
Keep it dialed to LowcoSports.com and follow @LowcoSports on Twitter for all the latest scores, highlights, and recaps from around the Lowco throughout the high school basketball postseason!
Written by Wes Kerr