JJ Hayes needed 12 points on Tuesday night to hit 1,000 in his high school career. It didn’t even take a quarter for the Hilton Head Prep boys basketball star to get the job done.
Hayes scored 25 points to reach the big milestone, including a dozen in the first period, and the Dolphins downed Bethesda Academy 66-40 on their home court Tuesday to open SCISA Region 4 play.
“It’s something really cool,” Hayes said. “Not many players get to do it. I’m thankful for my teammates, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m very blessed and fortunate to reach this milestone.”
The Dolphin offense kicked into high gear early, riding a 13-0 run as Hayes and Sean Cusano feasted in the paint. The duo used its stellar rebounding abilities to light up the scoreboard, and Hayes notched his 1,000th career point off a putback to give his team a commanding 23-7 lead.
The senior standout continued to put on a show on the offensive end, flushing down both a one-handed and two-handed jam, while the Dolphins sank all five of their free-throw attempts in the second quarter combined with some terrific interior defense to swell the advantage to 45-17 at halftime.
The Blazers found a spark early in the third with six points from guard Joshua Quarterman thanks to a rash of careless turnovers, but trusty Kane Eanes nailed an open three before sinking a layup on a Hayes feed to put his squad up 59-24. Bethesda opened up the fourth period on a 6-1 run, but a Cusano layup and a pretty Andrew Helms finish off a dish from Ben Frey helped put the game away.
“I told the guys before the game that it was time to reap the rewards of everything that we were working for,” Hayes said. “I know that Bethesda was a team we wanted really bad after a tough loss to them last year, so everybody came out hungry tonight. We were really fired up to play tonight, setting the tone in the first game of region play. We wanted to show everyone that we got the firepower this year.”
Hayes did it all for the Dolphins to surpass the 1,000-point mark, leading his squad with 25 points on the night alongside 10 rebounds and four assists. Cusano was a force down low with 14 points and a whopping 22 rebounds, while Eanes added 10 points and three assists.
Hilton Head Prep (8-2, 1-0) faces St. Andrew’s on the road Thursday.
By Wes Kerr / Photos courtesy HHP
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