HSBBB: Cusano, Dolphins in control vs. Eagles

They’ve already won 19 games, but Sean Cusano knows his Hilton Head Prep Dolphins are capable of even more as the playoffs near. On their home court Tuesday night, the Dolphins proved it by crushing their toughest SCISA Region 4 rival. 

Cusano poured in 28 points and dominated on the glass with nine rebounds as Hilton Head Prep rolled Beaufort Academy 72-54 on Tuesday.

“We played really well as a team,” Cusano said. “We stayed consistent throughout the whole game and were able to get the win. The more we go on, the more we get comfortable with each other. We’re starting to play well together and make better passes, really starting to click.” 

Both teams got their offenses rolling early, as JJ Hayes scored on a putback and a layup while Braydon Dineen splashed a three and added a bucket inside to trim the early HHP lead to 6-5. But the Dolphins kept coming with their impressive group of weapons, as Ben Frey’s quick hands on defense set up a Hayes finish before Kane Eanes burned the Eagles on his speedy and powerful drives to the basket to raise the lead to six. Then Cusano showed off his defensive prowess, denying BA big man Amarion Wilson in the paint before Hayes cashed in at the line to push it to nine. 

Dineen’s hot shooting kept the Eagles afloat, as the junior hit four 3-pointers in the first half to cut the deficit to three midway through the second quarter. But the Dolphins found a late surge with their standout defensive effort and a well-executed attack, as Cusano dominated down low with an and-1 and a putback before Frey and Andrew Helms sunk baskets off back-to-back steals as the Dolphins cruised into the break with a 13-3 run to go up 41-28. 

Photos by Susan Hayes

The Eagles had no answer for the size and rebounding of Cusano in the second half, as the senior added 11 of Hilton Head Prep’s 18 third-quarter points to swell the lead to 59-41. Sully Gay and Dineen both drained a three in the final quarter, but Cusano and the Dolphins sunk five of six shots from the line and maintained their strong play on defense to finish it off. 

Cusano put on a dominant performance on his home floor, scoring 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting with nine rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Hayes put up 19 points with eight boards and four assists, and Eanes added 14 points to go with three rebounds and two assists. Dineen had a tremendous night for BA, scoring 23 points on five triples, while Gay and Zeke Gonzalez tallied nine points each, and Wilson had eight points and seven boards. 

Hilton Head Prep (19-2, 10-0) travels to Colleton Prep on Friday. Beaufort Academy (25-7, 7-3) clinched the top seed in Region 4-2A with John Paul II’s loss to Hilton Head Christian Academy on Tuesday, and will host the Golden Warriors on Friday.

By Wes Kerr

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