Zach Reynolds expects an adjustment when he leaves the Hilton Head Christian Academy campus after the school year and motors to college.
The school is all he has known since kindergarten, and he wanted to leave his mark during his final home game. That Northwood Academy dismantled the Eagles during the first meeting provided further motivation.
Reynolds looked for his shot from the start, helping set the tone as the Christian Academy boys basketball team defeated the Chargers 63-49. Reynolds scored eight of his 15 points during the first quarter.
"We had some fire in us," Reynolds said. "Senior night -- we wanted to finish strong."
Never miss a local story.
Eagles guard Brad Meccariello closed what Reynolds started, scoring 10 of Hilton Head Christian's 13 points during the fourth quarter.
Meccariello finished with a game-high 23 points.
This was a different effort than the one the Eagles showed during a blowout at Northwood, Hilton Head Christian coach Kenny Conroy said. He said defense led the way this time, that the shot opportunities were there because of the Eagles' work on the other end.
Northwood scored the first three baskets of the fourth quarter to draw within eight. But a 14-3 Eagles' run forced a Northwood timeout. The Chargers were unable to rebuild any momentum.
Hilton Head Christian (12-10, 3-6) earned a tie with Northwood for third in the Region 3-AAA and awaits its SCISAA playoff seeding. The boys playoffs begin Feb. 18.
"We're playing as an underdog team," Meccariello said. We're trying to play our best each game and get ready for every game. Hopefully (Friday's win) will be a catalyst for what we can do in the playoffs."
Brackets will be released before Hilton Head Christian closes the season Tuesday at Beaufort Academy, a makeup game from earlier in the season. The game will serve to break up the monotony of practice during the next week, Conroy said.
He called the Eagles' performance Friday one of their best defensively. A key was having big man Kyle Weaver, who missed the first meeting, back in the middle on defense.
"Hopefully we can take the way we played tonight -- rebounding-wise, defensive pressure-wise, trapping-wise -- hopefully this will be the next step as we progress into the state championship," Conroy said.
Hilton Head Christian boys 63, Northwood 49
NORTHWOOD-- Tayvaughn Major 19, Douglas Dwight 9, Alex McMeekin 6, Jimmy Thomas 5, Brenden Gilbert 3, Prayton Clutters 3, Will Lloyd 2, Derritt Drayton 2
HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN (12-10, 3-6)-- Brad Meccariello 23, Zach Reynolds 15, Taylor MacDonald 11, CJ Evanofski 8, Jamario Williams 3, Kyle Weaver 3
NORTHWOOD GIRLS 81, HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN 23
At least there is next week.
The Eagles were overmatched Friday by one of SCISAA's top teams, bowing to constant defensive pressure. But the Christian Academy girls finished the season 12-12, third in their region and will compete in a first-round playoff game Friday.
The Eagles had little answer Friday for Northwood's combination of Amber Campbell and Alyssa Kinsey, who combined for 47 points.
"They're the elite of the elite," Eagles girls coach Kenny Conroy said of Northwood. "It's not a good matchup for us. The girls worked hard. They worked to put the ball in the basket. I wish some more shots fell for us, but their defensive pressure, that's why they're the class of SCISAA."
Senior Lauren Davis led Hilton Head Christian on senior night, scoring nine points.
NORTHWOOD-- Amber Campbell 26, Alyssa Kinsey 21, Jaime Andrews 8, Jasmine Butler 7, Meaggan Thomas 6, Antoinette Davis 5, Katelyn Powell 5, Rachel Cohen 2, Danel Phillips 1
HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN (12-12, 5-5)-- Lauren Davis 9, Addison Bensch 4, Ki Ki Gehrt 4, Kelly Humes 2, Andy Anderson 2, Audrey Bensch 1, Reilly Malphrus 1