Kendrick Colvin and the rest of the Beaufort High School boys basketball team spent much of the past week preparing to face do-everything post player Michael Julian.
The Eagles knew they needed to lock up and face-guard the talented Hilton Head Island High standout, who had been the team's sparkplug in recent years on the hardwood.
The only problem was that when tipoff came, Julian wasn't there.
"We were looking for him, but I guess it took until we got into the game to notice," Colvin said. "We still had to go out there and do what we had to do."
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Colvin and the Eagles took advantage. Behind a stalwart defensive performance and a game-high 15 points from their junior transfer, Beaufort High posted a 44-39 season-opening victory over its rival from across the Broad River.
"We had to lock up on their shooters," Colvin said, "and that's what we did."
The Seahawks entered Friday night down two starters, as Julian and guard Chris MacMurray were off taking college visits to Utah State and Georgia Southern, respectively. Their absence was noticable, as Hilton Head High (0-2) registered just three field goals in the first half after failing to establish a lack of presence in the paint.
The Seahawks entered the fourth quarter trailing by 11, but fought back with a 9-0 run sparked by an Aaron Frazier 3-pointer midway through the period to pull within four. But the Eagles (1-0) then made six straight free throws to salt the game away.
"We really know (free throws) are going to be big in close games," Eagles coach Bruce Beasley said. "Like I told the guys, Hilton Head wasn't going to quit. They were going to come back, which is what I anticipated. We had to fight them off."
They did so in part because of Colvin, who tallied 10 of his 15 points in the first half. The transfer from Pinewood, N.C., credited his success on his ability to drive to the basket on isolation plays.
"First win in a new school," he said. "It feels pretty good."
The game marked another heartbreaking loss for the Seahawks, who fell by three earlier this week at Whale Branch Early College High School.
"You had a young group not being able to figure out within the flow of the game, 'How do I do that?' " coach Ken Updike said. "In the second half, I thought we did a much better job running what we wanted to run, we got some better looks and went from there. I think defensively we got better, too."
The Seahawks will try for their first win of the season Monday against Hilton Head Christian Academy.
Beaufort High returns to the floor on Tuesday against Burke.
Beaufort High boys 44, Hilton Head High 39
Beaufort High (1-0) -- Kendrick Colvin 15, Thomas Parker 12, Otis McClain 8, Anthony White 5, Jawan Mack 3, Keion Marshall 1
Hilton Head High (0-2) -- Aaron Frazier 15, Jacob Coltrane 7, Elliot Florencio 7, Craig Ryan 4, James Sanders 3, Troy Clifford 2, Malik Singleton 1
Hilton Head High girls 60, Beaufort High 28
Behind yet another double-double from forward Americal Jenkins, the Hilton Head High girls basketball team registered its first win of the season, a 60-28 thumping of Beaufort High.
Jenkins scored 11 of her game-high 20 points in the first half and finished with 10 rebounds as the Seahawks (1-1) cruised to the easy victory. It came just two days after the 5-foot-11 sophomore posted 27 points and 19 rebounds in a loss to Whale Branch.
"I try my hardest to help out my team," Jenkins said. "I don't want to let them down."
Beaufort High (0-1) fell behind early against the Seahawks' full-court pressure, as 14 first-period turnovers led to a 32-13 halftime deficit. The Eagles, who finished with 28 turnovers in all, didn't crack the scoring column until midway through the first period.
For the Seahawks, it was a stark contrast from earlier this week when Hilton Head High surrendered 58 points in a loss to Class 1-A Whale Branch.
"We wanted to work on our pressure a little bit because we weren't happy with how we ran it the other night," coach Dave Greenberg said. "We would have liked to work on it a little bit longer, but we stopped at halftime."
Beaufort High (0-1) -- Mattie Hibbs 11, Jordan Fields 7, Kaitlyn Hamilton 4, Amber Britton 2, Jimesha Mitchell 2, Jaia Johnson 2
Hilton Head High (1-1) -- Americal Jenkins 20, Austin Seelbach 10, Lauryn Bush 8, Zion Campbell 7, Macy King 4, Shy Flemming 4, Brennan O'Gorman 4, Savannah Reier 2, Areli Fernandez 1