For the second consecutive game, the offense seemed to disappear at times and the opponent's post players seemed unstoppable. And for the second consecutive game, Hilton Head Prep boys basketball coach Rich Basirico was left sitting on 499 career wins.
Freshmen K.J. James and Michael Preddy combined for 36 points -- most of them in the paint -- and Porter-Gaud rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to beat the Dolphins, 59-52, on Friday at Prep's Fraser Field House.
The loss means Basirico will go into Tuesday's cross-island rivalry game against Hilton Head Christian Academy still seeking his 500th victory. The Dolphins have failed to deliver the past two games, losing on a buzzer-beater against Australian club team West Adelaide on Tuesday and squandering the halftime lead Friday.
"I'm not worried about that," Basirico said of the milestone. "I just want our kids to play well, and we did tonight. We just didn't do it for four quarters.
At halftime, the victory seemed imminent. Prep senior Matt Layman hit a 3-pointer just before the half to make it 34-27, and Prep's post players had done a nice job to that point of limiting James' scoring opportunities inside.
All that changed in the second half.
James scored 15 of his game-high 23 in the second half -- eight of them at the free-throw line -- and the Dolphins suddenly went cold, scoring only six points in the third quarter and going nearly six minutes without scoring.
"Give credit to Porter-Gaud; they did a very nice job," Basirico said. "We attacked them in the first half very well, and in the second half they did a great job of shutting us down. It was the same defense, but they cranked it up a notch."
The fact that his team had denied Basirico the milestone victory eluded Porter-Gaud coach John Pearson until after the game, and although the revelation caught him off-guard, it didn't put a damper on a key SCISAA Region 3-AAA victory.
"He's a good friend of mine. He's going to get that 500th win," Pearson said. "I guess I'm kind of glad he didn't get it against us, but he's a great coach, and he's going to get it real soon."
HILTON HEAD PREP (10-4, 0-1 SCISAA Region 3-AAA) -- Matt Layman 15, Alex Orford 12, Dimitri Lowry 9, Patrick Andrews 8, Bo Strimpfel 6, Tim Godshalk 2.
PORTER-GAUD (8-5, 1-0 SCISAA Region 3-AAA) -- K.J. James 23, Michael Preddy 13, Stanton Seckinger 8, Patrick Williams 5, Connor Benton 4, Ashton Phillips 2, George Phillips 2, Jack Meadors 2.
Hilton Head Prep girls 57, Porter-Gaud 31
The Dolphins' 10th consecutive victory looked much like most of the others -- they ran out to a 19-2 lead and cruised from there.
"The first five minutes of each half are the most important minutes of the whole game for us," Prep coach Bob Sulek said. "We have to win those minutes. We have to show the other team they can't play with us."
The Dolphins made a convincing case Friday. Prep outscored the Cyclones 19-4 in the first quarter and 12-2 in the third.
Kate Brunori had 16 points and eight rebounds, and Jill Brunori added 16 points, eight assists and 11 steals for the Dolphins.
HILTON HEAD PREP (16-1, 2-0 SCISAA Region 3-AAA) -- Kate Brunori 16, Jill Brunori 16, Kathleen Blum 7, Lane Czura 6, Grace Anderson 6, Jamese Franklin 4, Brooke Churchich 2.
PORTER-GAUD (8-7, 0-1 SCISAA Region 3-AAA) -- Stacy Fairey 15, Lillian Saul 4, Kayla Staley 3, Anna McAbee 3, Katherine Ham 2, McLean Coen 2, Becca Ellison 2.