A lack of effort was the culprit in Bluffton's first loss of the season Tuesday night against Whale Branch.
The Bobcats sought to change that this time around.
Bluffton jumped out of the gate early Friday night against Hilton Head Island High before riding out a 67-45 win, giving the Bobcats a season sweep of the rival Seahawks.
Better effort during the week led to the quick turnaround, players said.
"We weren't too focused in practice," forward Marquis Webber said. "We were joking around, playing around and we underestimated Whale Branch. But the last two days we practiced hard, we practiced fast. That's a big part of why we came out and won tonight."
The Bobcats jumped out to a 14-0 lead before cruising into the locker room up 28-8 on the outmanned Seahawks. They did so thanks to what players called the most intense two practice days of the season.
"It was a lot better," guard Demetrius Smalls said. "We came in and practiced with more intensity and more focus. We competed against each other. We got the results tonight with a win."
Smalls paced the Bobcats (3-1) with 14 points, including three consecutive 3-pointers in one stretch during the third period. Webber, C.J. Frazier and Harlan Kendrick each added nine for Bluffton, which won its second game in a week over Hilton Head High (3-4). The Bobcats dropped the Seahawks, 48-33, last Friday.
"Our last two practices have been really good," coach Brett Macy said. "It's not hard. I can probably tell you how we'll play every single tip-off by how we practiced. We were engaged at practice, we competed.
"It got a little touchy with some guys because they were competing so hard, but I don't mind that. We were ready to play because of that."
The Seahawks, who were coming off a five-overtime victory over Hilton Head Christian, were led by sophomore Aaron Frazier's game-high 27 points. Hilton Head High failed to generate much more offense than that, however, as coach Ken Updike's squad was without the services of 6-foot-5 senior forward Michael Julian, who is playing quarterback today in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
"The first thing we talked about in the locker room was, most importantly, to match intensity," Updike said. "We didn't do that. I felt like we did that the second half, so I'm not sure exactly why you've got to spot them 20 before you match intensity."
The Seahawks will have Julian back when they next take the floor, as Hilton Head High is off before next weekend's Seahawk Holiday Classic. The Bobcats, meanwhile, return to the court tonight against Ridgeland-Hardeeville.
Bluffton boys 67, Hilton Head High 45
Hilton Head High -- Aaron Frazier 27, Malik Singleton 5, Jacob Coltrane 3, Troy Clifford 3, James Sanders 3, Craig Ryan 2, Chris O'Donnell 1, Matt Pollard 1
Bluffton -- Demetrius Smalls 14, Marquis Webber 9, Harlan Kendrick 9, C.J. Frazier 9, Ahdonus Cofer 6, B.J. Hill 4, Jay Middleton 4, Austin Chittum 4, Chance Murphy 3, Shawn Epling 3, Aaron Pray 2
Hilton Head High girls 45, Bluffton 37
The Seahawks turned a one-point lead with just over six minutes to play into a comfortable victory by game's end, as Hilton Head High used a 10-0 run in the final period to sweep the season series with the Bobcats.
Americal Jenkins tallied six points in the run and finished with a game-high 13. It came after the sophomore standout was held scoreless in the first half as the two teams adjourned to the locker rooms in a 17-all stalemate.
"That's no coincidence," coach Dave Greenberg said. "She's a big part of what we do. Give them credit, they made some adjustments and made it tougher for her. Americal's got to be able to get beyond that, and she did in the second half. She was pretty impressive."
The Seahawks (6-1) turned to their full-court pressure in the second half to pull past the Bobcats (0-4), and they did so thanks to the effort of Lauryn Bush, who also finished with eight points.
"(She) made defensive play after defensive play," Greenberg said. "She caused turnovers and was in the right spot at the right time. ... The last five minutes of her defense was just terrific."
Hilton Head High -- Americal Jenkins 13, Lauryn Bush 10, Savannah Reier 9, Macy King 6, Zion Campbell 5, Shy Flemming 2
Bluffton -- Amber Klitzsch 8, Autumn Card 7, Tatyana Fripp 6, Dynasty Mervin 6, Diamon Smalls 4, Rickii Alexander 2, Johnnie Gaston 2, Monique Whitley 2