Sometimes, a little wake-up call is all you need to take your team to the next level. After a humbling 20-point loss at Beaufort Academy on Monday, Hilton Head Prep’s boys steamrolled past their second opponent in two days Friday night.
Junior JJ Hayes dropped 19 points, and the Dolphins scored the first 23 of the third quarter to complement a stymying defensive effort in a 59-32 win over John Paul II.
“The loss kinda put a fire in our stomach,” Hayes said. “We knew we probably should’ve come away with that game. We didn’t play the way we wanted to. But coming back, our last time playing on our court this season, we really had a fire in our stomach to come out and get a win tonight.”
The home team hit the ground running, surging to an early 11-1 lead on a trio of quick three-pointers from Hayes, Kane Eanes, and Ryan Mikell. Jerry Faulkner’s offense was magnificent all night, using beautiful ball movement to find open men beyond the arc, and the trio of sharpshooters all connected in the opening minutes.
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The visiting Golden Warriors cut the lead to six with a Mark Knight jumper and a stellar feed to Austin McIntosh inside, but Hayes couldn’t be tamed on the boards, dropping in a pair of putbacks to cap off a 21-10 first quarter.
The Dolphins star continued to shine, nailing a turnaround shot after JPII started the second period with a three-pointer. John Paul II battled back to cut it to single digits with a pair of Jeremiah Young free throws, but that was the closest the Golden Warriors would get the rest of the night.
Hilton Head Prep kept the explosive offense humming and shut down a dangerous JPII lineup on their way to an astounding 36-1 run, spanning the end of the first half and the last two minutes of the third quarter.
“We came out with a nice little lead, and we just wanted to lock them up,” Hayes said. “We wanted to clamp down on [Malone Kinard-Huisinger]. I know that Mark Knight and Jackson Ogden are good players, we wanted to stay down on them, make sure they didn’t get into a rhythm, contest their shots, and make it tough for them.”
The Dolphins orchestrated an offensive symphony, as an extraordinary display of passing, shooting, and rebounding frustrated the John Paul II defense. They attacked the rim to earn free throws, dished it out to shooters on the perimeter, and cleaned up on the glass in a dazzling display of team basketball.
Hayes found Eanes in the corner for three, and stellar point guard Jayden Chance found driving lanes en route to a beautiful finish at the rim to end the half. Luke Foley and Mikell banged a pair of threes to get the second half going, Hayes continued his monster performance on the boards with numerous putbacks and tip-ins, and Eanes finished off a sweet steal with a layup. On the other end, the Dolphin bigs excelled in the paint to deny the Golden Warriors easy buckets at the rim while forcing a flurry of mistakes and miscues. JPII had numerous opportunities from deep, but they just couldn’t buy a shot from long range.
Hilton Head Prep blew it open to the tune of 59-19 as the third quarter came to an end, and the Dolphins rested their starters in the fourth, coasting to a dominant victory.
Hayes recorded a double-double, hauling in 10 boards to go with his 19 points. Eanes scored 15 points while excelling on defense with four steals. In their final home games, Chance put up 10 points along with five assists, and Foley led the squad in rebounds with 11.
Young scored 12 to lead the Golden Warriors.
John Paul II (9-5, 4-4) comes back home to host Beaufort Academy on Tuesday.
Hilton Head Prep (14-4) plays rival Hilton Head Christian Academy on Tuesday at the Island Rec Center.
Written by Wes Kerr