B.J. Hill trudged through a side exit of the Bluffton High School gymnasium with his family, headed for some rest before returning Saturday.
The senior guard was the face of the Bobcats fatigue after the team defeated Ridgeland-Hardeeeville 74-73 in two overtimes in the boys semifinals of the Bobcat Classic. Hill played 39 of 40 minutes guarding the Jaguars top offensive threat, Terrance Frazier.
The victory stretched Blufftons thin bench before Saturdays championship game against McIntosh County. The Bobcats played seven players Friday. Ridgeland-Hardeevilles bench went a little deeper.
We all need to hydrate and get some rest, Hill said. I think well be fine.
Bluffton will play for its second Bobcat Classic title in three years. The Bobcats last won in 2012.
The Jaguars appeared ready to outlast host Bluffton after coming back from a 10-point halftime deficit.
But Bluffton delivered the plays it needed to remain alive, getting a D.J. Dobson steal and dunk to send the game into a second overtime and converting five of six free throws in the final 1:03 of the second extra period.
Dobson led Bluffton with 21 points and forward Adriel Willis added 17 for the Bobcats.
Frazier came on strong late and finished with a game-high 23 points, despite resistance from Hill.
Hill has had relief from the bench in the past as the teams top defensive stopper. He has carried the full role recently.
He said Frazier being a lefty made his job tougher.
Everything he does is quick, Hill said. Im not used to sliding that direction that quickly. ... I just had to shade him to his left side and make him drive to the basket with his right hand.
Ridgeland-Hardeeville coach Jeremiah Faber was upset with two late calls that went against the Jaguars. A foul away from the ball under the basket led to two Bluffton free throws. And with Ridgeland-Hardeeville down a point, Bluffton coach Brett Macy yelled for and received a carrying call with 15 seconds remaining.
I dont think the official should ever have to decide the game and that was the outcome tonight, Faber said. We had two bad calls going down the stretch both teams fighting hard, double overtime, you dont project yourself in a game like that.
Each team had a chance before the final overtime period.
Hills jumper from the right wing rattled out as time expired in regulation. The Jaguars missed a 3-point attempt to end the first overtime.
Macy said the Bobcats should have closed the victory during regulation but was happy with the result.
It was a good win against a rival, a team thats very deep, he said.
Bluffton 74, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 73 (2OT)
Ridgeland-Hardeeville (3-3) Terrance Frazier 23, Charles Mitchell 12, Trenord Ferrell 9, Kevon Williams 8, Tray Robinson 8, Ransom Dunham 6, Richard Garvin 2, Derrel Myers 2, Gaylus Bailey 2, Nazair Wilson 1
Bluffton (7-1) D.J. Dobson 21, Adriel Willis 17, B.J. Hill 14, Chance Murphy 10, Jae Middleton 6, LaQuan Washington 4, Deon Charles 2
Girls semifinal: Bluffton 35, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 29
Bluffton girls basketball coach Lonnie Roberts ticked off the numbers from the top of his head.
His Bobcats committed more than 30 turnovers and shot fewer than 50 percent from the free-throw line. The numbers typically point to a loss, but Bluffton found a way to scratch out a victory over Ridgeland-Hardeeville.
The host Bluffton girls will try for their first title in their own event at 6 p.m. against Glynn Academy.
We expected the tough D, the tough everything, Bluffton guard Dynasty Mervin said. We beat them the first time, we knew they were going to come back harder to try to beat us.
The Jaguars tried to create scoring opportunities out of their press, but couldnt finish on the offensive end.
Ridgeland-Hardeeville pulled within two points with 1:02 remaining on Deneshia Pages basket underneath but was scoreless the rest of the way. Bluffton made four of its final six free throws.
Ridgeland-Hardeeville (3-3) Deneshia Page 8, Jayme Chisolm 6, Shakeerah Grant 6, Rebekah Taylor 3, NyJae Boozer 2, Zana McCall 2, Jamiyah Taylor 2
Bluffton (5-3) Dynasty Mervin 10, Baylor Davis 6, Tatyana Fripp 6, Johnnie Gaston 5, Diamon Smalls 4, Evian Mitchell 2, Autumn Card 1, Rickii Alexander 1
at Bluffton High School
Bluffton vs. McIntosh County, 7:30 p.m.
Bluffton vs. Glynn Academy, 6 p.m.
Ridgeland-Hardeeville vs. Groves, 4:30 p.m.
New Hemptstead vs. North Florida, 1:30 p.m.
New Hempstead vs. Purcell, 10:30 a.m.
Ridgeland-Hardeeville vs. Wayne County, 3 p.m.
Beaufort High vs. Etowah, noon
Whale Branch vs. Wade Hampton, 9 a.m.