Throughout the high school boys basketball season, we’ll recognize the standouts from the previous week’s action with the Lowco Boys Hoops Spotlight presented by Rogers Electric.
We select our Starting Five of the top players of the week, along with a few standouts we’re keeping “in the rotation,” as well as a Team of the Week, and highlight the biggest game of the upcoming week. Here’s this week’s installment of the Lowco Boys Hoops Spotlight presented by Rogers Electric.
LOWCO STARTING FIVE OF THE WEEK
Sean Cusano, HHP: We technically *could* keep Cusano out of our Starting Five, but it wouldn’t be justifiable. Whether Cusano is the missing piece to the puzzle that elevates the Dolphins into a SCISA 3A contender will be known soon enough, but we know he’s an outstanding player who has displayed incredible consistency. He has posted double-doubles in three straight games and seven of the last eight, and he averaged 23 points, 10.5 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks in two games last week.
James Dennison, BHS: The only reason you can’t say Cusano’s consistency is unmatched in the Lowco is because of JD, who is an automatic double-double at this point — almost literally. He averaged 18.7 points and 17.3 rebounds in three huge wins last week, giving the Eagles the Region 7-4A title and the top seed in the Class 4A playoffs. The elder Dennison brother has posted double-digit points and rebounds in 14 of 18 games this season.
Braydon Dineen, BA: It’s difficult for anyone to stand out on Beaufort Academy’s blue-collar squad, which asks everyone to do the little things that don’t show up in the box score, but Dineen manages to walk that line and produce in the box score while also contributing more than his share of hustle plays. Dineen averaged 15.7 points in three games last week, including an impressive 23-point effort against powerhouse Hilton Head Prep, and he always seems to be the hardest-working player on the floor.
Brandon Howard, THA: The legend of Budda isn’t over yet, and Howard seems poised to write a thrilling final chapter on the basketball court. A year after Thomas Heyward didn’t field a team, Howard has become the driving force behind one of the best stories in the Lowco this hoops season. He averaged 15.3 points and 5.3 assists in three wins last week, including a double-double against Beaufort Academy, as the Rebels locked up the No. 2 seed in the Class 2A playoffs. And we don’t bet against Budda in the playoffs. years, and he would love to finish it off with a special postseason run in a challenging Class 3A bracket.
James Layman, MRHS: It was a rollercoaster of a week for the Sharks, who were riding high after a road win at Lucy Beckham but fell flat in a home loss to region champion Beaufort High, but Layman did everything in his power to send May River into the playoffs on a high note. The Wofford baseball commit narrowly missed a double-double in the win over the Bengals with 13 points and nine rebounds, and he poured in 26 points in a loss on Senior Night, continuing to be the Sharks’ most consistent option down the stretch.
In the rotation: Isaiah Anderson, HHCA; Michael Dennison, BHS; Kane Eanes, HHP; Sully Gay, BA; Preston Hamilton, THA; JJ Hayes, HHP; Mark Knight, JPII; Jaylin Linder, BLHS; Tony O’Banner, THA; AJ Singleton, WB
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Beaufort High Eagles (3-0 this week; 10-4, 7-0 overall)
It was a one-game week for the Eagles, but it was a very big game, and they gave a very big performance. Jeremy Huff’s team solidified its status as the frontrunner in Region 7-4A with a gutsy 72-63 win over a tough James Island team, and the Eagles have begun to address some of the concerns that emerged early in the season. The return of senior Jake Alvarez has solidified the backcourt, and the expedited development of point guard Anderson Jones gives Beaufort a pair of guards who understand their role and create hustle plays to complement “The Firm” of Dennison, Dennison & Odom. The Eagles are still flying under the radar and lurking outside the top 10 in Class 4A, but their performance against the Trojans showed that a subpar performance against Bluffton last week was an anomaly.
Honorable Mention: Hilton Head Christian Academy (1-1); Thomas Heyward (3-0); Whale Branch (2-0)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Bethesda Academy at Hilton Head Christian Academy, 7 p.m. Tuesday
Sure, there are SCHSL playoff games on the docket, but let’s face it, the first-round matchups usually aren’t a whole lot to get excited about; the better games will come Friday and Saturday, but those matchups are to be determined. What we have here is a rarity: Two teams, tied for the last playoff spot, with one game to play — against each other. And it’s a heck of a matchup, too. The Eagles won the first meeting 51-45 on the road behind a red-hot Wells Sharp, who drained four 3-pointers and scored 20 points, but the Blazers have played well of late and have some lethal shooters of their own. Both teams have played well down the stretch, and both seem to find themselves in close games night in and night out, so this one should be fun.
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