Hilton Head Christian Academy’s boys saw its season come to an end Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the SCISA 2A playoffs, falling to Bethesda Academy 61-54 at John Paul II.
Senior JP Peduzzi led the Eagles with 23 points and Isaiah Anderson scored 10. The Blazers were led by Ivan Gooding’s 18 points, while Antjuan McKay and Joshua Quarterman added 10.
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The Eagles and Blazers traded baskets early in the first, as Bethesda took a two-point lead into the second quarter behind Quarterman’s 10 points. But the Blazers took complete control in the second, out-scoring HHCA 15-6 to take an 11-point lead into the half.
Gooding showed off his range to start the second half, pouring in three triples early in the third quarter to extend the Blazer lead to 18. But Peduzzi’s 11 third-quarter points provided a spark, as the Eagles went on a 15-5 run to close out the period, cutting the lead to eight.
HHCA’s surge continued into the fourth quarter, as Peduzzi hit another three to cut the deficit to six. After a Bethesda miss, Andrew Helms got to the free throw line with a chance to make it a one-possession game. Helms made the first and after missing the second, Peduzzi grabbed a huge offensive rebound and layed it in, cutting the Bethesda lead to just three with five minutes to play.
Bethesda was on its heels, and HHCA had all of the momentum. But the Blazers’ intense full-court press led to two consecutive steals, each followed by layups from Donte Dorman, to extend the lead back to eight with under three minutes to play.
The Eagles saw their season flash before their eyes, but two clutch 3-pointers by Helms, followed by a pair of free throws from Peduzzi brought them within two with a minute to play. The Blazers, who hadn’t made a single free-throw in the first three quarters, knocked down eight in the fourth to seal the game and put an end to the Eagles’ comeback.
Hilton Head Christian finishes its season with a record of 8-11. Bethesda will play Spartanburg Christian, who knocked off John Paul II, in the semifinals on Thursday.
By Trace Lowther