Playoffs offer a chance to move forward. And for the Bluffton High School boys basketball team, that will mean shoving aside a painful loss at rival Hilton Head Island High School last week.
Bluffton earned a home game to open the Class 3-A playoffs, thanks to its Region 7-AAA championship. The Bobcats square off with Socastee at 6 tonight in The Den.
The Braves come to Bluffton with a 13-9 record and a 5-5 mark in region play. Socastee capped its regular season with consecutive wins over North Myrtle Beach and St. James, but the Braves have still lost three of their past five games.
Socastee has been good away from home this season, going 5-3 on the road. The Braves will need that to be the case once again tonight, as the Bobcats (19-3, 8-2) are 11-1 in The Den this year.
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Bluffton coach Brett Macy said the Braves shoot the ball well and play solid help defense.
"Hopefully we can use our home court as an advantage," he said. "It'll be a hard-fought game, and hopefully we're up for the challenge."
Hilton Head High, the fourth seed out of Region 7-AAA, travels to Florence to take on Wilson, which is ranked seventh overall in Class 3-A. The Tigers enter the playoffs on a four-game win streak and carry a 17-7 overall record into the postseason.
Wilson, a member of Region 8-AAA, is led by a pair of senior forwards in Brandon Jones and Alandre Davis. Jones averages a team-high 16.3 points per game to go along with 8.5 rebounds, while Davis averages just less than a double-double with 11 points and 9.4 boards per contest.
The Seahawks face the daunting challenge of trying to knock off the top-seeded Tigers at home, where they are a perfect 9-0 this season. Hilton Head High is 4-5 on the road this year.
Beaufort High School's boys travel to Orangeburg-Wilkinson, trying to make sense of the final stretch of the regular season. The Eagles have lost three straight as they head into the Class 4-A playoffs, including the past two by a combined four points.
To win Wednesday, coach Bruce Beasley's team will have to shake the memory of a close defeat, a two-point loss to Orangeburg-Wilkinson in a holiday tournament at Burke. Beasley said the Eagles will have to contain the Bruins' athleticism.
"We're going to have to get back and defend their transition," Beasley said. "They're very athletic. They play at a fast pace. They pressure. We've got to be able to handle their pressure."
Ridgeland High School travels to Baptist Hill as the No. 3 seed from Region 5-A. The Jaguars might feel their playoffs already have begun, after they defeated Whale Branch High School last week to secure the region's third seed.
Coach Jeremiah Faber's team won four of its final five games.
Despite the loss to the Jaguars, Whale Branch earned the program's first trip to the playoffs after finishing 10-4 in Region 5-A, with nine more victories than it had in Year 1. The Warriors will travel to Burke, champion of Region 6-A.
"We usually bounce back from a loss," Warriors coach Linc Lyles said, after his team defeated Bamberg-Ehrhardt to end the regular season. "We treated tonight like a playoff game, just to get in the mindset that if you get beat in the playoffs, you're done. Seniors, your career is over. So we want to keep practicing and want to keep playing as long as we can."