For the third straight season, the Bluffton High School boys basketball team finds itself at home for the first round of the playoffs.
But the games this time of year haven't been as kind as the Bobcats have hoped for. Coach Brett Macy and Co. dropped a 70-61 decision to Socastee in the first round last season, which followed up a 10-point loss to Marlboro County the year before.
Is the third time a charm for the Bobcats?
They'll have to wait until Wednesday night against Wando to find out. But first, two other area basketball programs will take the floor tonight in the hopes of securing a deep playoff run.
Whale Branch Early College High School, which has spent the last several weeks ranked atop the Class 1-A poll, begins its playoff push against Cross at 7 p.m. The Warriors (20-3) went 9-1 in Region 5-A this year and capped the regular season with a resounding 82-44 triumph over Denmark-Olar. It will take four home wins for coach Linc Lyles and his team to make it to the state championship game, which is slated for March 2 at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia.
Hilton Head Island High also begins its playoff journey in Class 3-A tonight. The Seahawks (13-11), who have won two straight, clinched their first winning record since the 2003-2004 season Friday night with a 48-40 win over Hanahan. The veteran-laden lineup travels to face a Midland Valley (17-9) squad that lost at the buzzer to Strom Thurmond Friday in a tiebreaker game.
Bluffton, Beaufort High, Battery Creek and Ridgeland-Hardeeville all must wait until Wednesday to begin the playoff push. The Eagles (13-9) travel to face the fifth-ranked Goose Creek Gators (18-4) in Class 4-A while the Jaguars (10-12) travel to top-seeded Calhoun County in 2-A action.
The Dolphins and Bobcats both earned home games. Silver Bluff heads to Battery Creek while Wando brings its 14-11 record to The Den. Bluffton (12-7) capped its regular season with a 61-55 comeback win over Beaufort High on Thursday.