The SCISA seeding committee hasn’t done Hilton Head Prep boys basketball any favors during the Dolphins’ tenure playing as a Class 3A “flex” team in SCISA Region 4-2A, and this year was no different. But one thing did change this time around — the Dolphins proved them wrong.
After knocking off No. 3 seed Laurence Manning in the first round, the sixth-seeded Dolphins took down No. 2 seed Cardinal Newman with a 69-56 victory Wednesday at the Sumter Civic Center.
Sean Cusano poured in 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting with 10 rebounds and five blocked shots, JJ Hayes added 14 points, eight boards, and five assists, and Kane Eanes contributed 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists to lead the Dolphins to their first state semifinal appearance since they won the SCISA 2A title in 2018-19.
A determined HHP squad came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, racing out to a 22-6 lead after one quarter, as Ben Frey capped the opening frame with a 3-pointer, and stretching it to 36-15 at halftime. The Cardinals answered coming out of the locker room, opening the second half with a 9-0 run to close within 12, but the Dolphins stemmed the tide and regained their offensive rhythm to push the lead back to 16 going to the fourth.
Cardinal Newman made another charge in the final period, closing within 55-44 with 4:35 left to play, but the Cardinals could never get over the hump and trim the margin to single digits.
HHP (22-3) earns a rematch with First Baptist in the SCISA 3A semifinals at 5 p.m. Friday at the Sumter Civic Center. If the Dolphins can avenge a 72-52 loss to the Hurricanes on Feb. 12 in Charleston, they will play in the state championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday against Trinity Collegiate or Augusta Christian.
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