Dave Greenberg usually isn't one to celebrate a moral victory.
That was, until, he watched his Hilton Head Island High School girls basketball team Tuesday night.
"We're playing to win," the Seahawks coach said. "We're not playing for moral victories. But I'm just so proud of the effort. I thought our effort was great. We made mistakes, we messed up.
"But we never stopped fighting and we never stopped battling."
Hilton Head High had every reason to fold in its latest Region 8-AAA matchup against Orangeburg-Wilkinson, which entered with a 16-1 record and the top ranking in Class 3-A. The Bruinettes were running hot, too, having come to the Lowcountry fresh off a 59-point beatdown over previously unbeaten Stall.
And, yet, there the Seahawks were with the best the state has to offer. Hilton Head High trailed by just two midway through the third quarter and were down by just two possessions entering the final minutes before coming up short in a 51-43 setback to the Bruinettes. It was the third-closest margin of victory this year for Orangeburg-Wilkinson, which has won by an average of more than 30 points in its 17 wins.
"They're pretty good," Greenberg said, "but we're not bad."
The Bruinettes used a 14-0 run to close the first half with a 10-point lead, but the Seahawks responded with an 8-0 run of their own to start the third quarter. Lauryn Bush's 3-pointer from the wing pulled Hilton Head High within two midway through the period before Orangeburg-Wilkinson once again padded the lead with a handful of fast-break opportunities.
Another 6-0 run by the Seahawks in the closing minutes helped cut the margin to 47-41, but Hilton Head High ran out of time as Orangeburg-Wilkinson salted the game away at the free-throw line.
"We were a little nervous," said Bush, who finished with a game-high 21 points. "We heard that they were No. 1 in the state and were good. But we watched a little tape before practice yesterday and picked up some things and said, 'They kind of play like us.' "
Hilton Head High (12-5, 2-1) entered the 2012-13 campaign as a relative unknown in Class 3-A. The Seahawks lost a trio of impact players from last season's region championship team, and Greenberg was entrusting the ball to a handful of players without significant varsity experience.
Suffice it to say, Hilton Head High learned a little more about itself with this latest showing.
"At the beginning of the year, we didn't know what we were going to be," Bush said. "We're a very young team and our skill level is not as good as theirs. They have juniors and seniors out there on the court and we have freshmen, sophomores and eighth-graders. I think this gives us great confidence."
Orangeburg-Wilkinson girls 51, Hilton Head High 43
Orangeburg-Wilkinson -- Saukita Glover 11, Nabreshia Hughes 11, Dejoria Howard 9, Kiara Mitchell 7, Zaria Snipes 6, Vondria Ritter 5, Sade Johnson 2
Hilton Head High -- Lauryn Bush 21, Americal Jenkins 9, Rachel Friend 5, Brennan O'Gorman 4, Macy King 2, Savannah Reier 2
Orangeburg-Wilkinson boys 63, Hilton Head High 57
Another big halftime advantage went by the wayside for the Hilton Head High boys basketball team Tuesday night.
Only this time, the Seahawks weren't as fortunate when the final buzzer sounded.
For the second straight home game, Hilton Head High watched as an 11-point halftime lead dissipated over the final 16 minutes. The Seahawks still managed to hang on the first time around for a 3-point win over Berkeley, but saw the other side of that run in a 63-57 loss to Orangeburg-Wilkinson in this latest thriller.
"You have to be able to play with a lead," coach Ken Updike said. "You have to be able to seal the deal. Some of that comes with confidence, some of that comes with being efficient."
Turnovers cost the Seahawks in this latest loss, as 20 giveaways -- including 13 in the second half -- resulted in a bevy of fast-break chances for the Bruins (10-8, 3-0). Orangeburg-Wilkinson used a 19-10 third quarter to pull within two before taking the lead for good on Jordan Lewis' putback with seven minutes to play.
Hilton Head High (9-8, 1-2) never got closer than that, as Tauree Curry's 12 of 13 showing from the line helped keep the Bruins on top in the closing minutes.
Orangeburg-Wilkinson -- Tauree Curry 20, Tashombe Riley 12, Lorenzo Perryman-Riley 10, Tyler Davis 4, Jervaiite Caldwell 4, John Charlie 4, Jordan Lewis 3, Richard Green 3, Messiah Rice 2, Auston Anderson 1
Hilton Head High -- Michael Julian 17, Aaron Frazier 17, Jacob Coltrane 10, James Sanders 6, Troy Clifford 4, Matt Pollard 3