Jawan Mack and Adonis Grant thought they had slipped undetected past Beaufort High School boys basketball coach Bruce Beasley to sit in front of the scorer's table.
The guards thought they could catch Beasley in a good mood, celebrating his 58th birthday while the Eagles were rolling in the fourth quarter at home toward what would be a 77-31 victory over Hilton Head Island High School.
Beasley saw the boys on the floor and sent them back to their seats on the bench. The Eagles' starters sat the final quarter in preparation for a non-region test at Ridgeland-Hardeeville on Saturday.
"Save some for tomorrow," Beasley told Michael Dickson, who came off after scoring 12 points.
The Eagles (10-1) are 10 days from the start of the Region 8-AAAA schedule and coming off a big tournament victory at the Modie Risher Classic.
Beaufort High's starters might be forgiven wanting to stay on the floor and continue enjoying the success. But Beasley also wants a focused group, and counts each game from here out important -- including what he expects will be a physical road game with the Jaguars on Saturday.
He also wanted to be sure everyone played one of the few times he could afford it. Eleven Beaufort High players scored Friday.
"Starting tomorrow, all the games are big," Beasley said. "We have to consistently play hard, play smart and play together."
Hilton Head High (3-10) continued its growing pains.
The Seahawks received a boost with the return of guard Jacob Coltrane, who had a torn labrum in his left shoulder and has not played since the first quarter against Whale Branch on Dec. 3. Coltrane wore a black brace on the shoulder Friday and his minutes were monitored. He chipped in 10 points.
Hilton Head High coach Ken Updike said the Seahawks need to maximize possessions and not take quick shots.
"You play right into their game," Updike said. "The whole 'we're a young team,' that doesn't work anymore, because we've played 13 games."
Mack said the Eagles wanted to start fast on defense, running full-court, man-to-man pressure.
Beaufort High tore off a 30-0 run during the first half after the game was tied at 6. The Eagles made 15 3-pointers, including five during a torrid stretch to start the second half.
Everything seemed to fall the Eagles' way, including Mack's heave from near the opposite foul line just before the buzzer sounded for halftime.
Beaufort High 77, Hilton Head High 31
Hilton Head High (3-10) -- Troy Clifford 12, Jacob Coltrane 10, Craig Ryan 4, Aaron Frazier 3, Bryce Singleton 2
Beaufort High (10-1) -- Adonis Grant 12, Michael Dickson 12, Jawan Mack 11, Darryl Owens 9, Kendrick Colvin 9, Devin Stedman 8, Carlton Johnson 8, LaMont Fripp 2, Matthew Garay 2, Rodney Warren 2, Monty White 2
Hilton Head High girls 56, Beaufort High 20
Americal Jenkins thinks the Hilton Head High girls basketball team is in good form as it chugs toward region play later this month.
The junior forward has helped lead the surge. Her latest effort -- 20 points and 20 rebounds Friday night -- helped Hilton Head High ease past the Eagles.
Jenkins recorded three double-doubles during the Seahawks' run to the final of the Walnut Grove Classic in Buford, Ga., during the holiday break. She imposed her size again Friday, staying inside and fighting her way to the free throw line over the smaller Eagles.
The competition in Georgia helped sharpen Hilton Head High entering the New Year, Jenkins said.
"The better teams we play, the better we'll get," Jenkins said.
Hilton Head High coach Dave Greenberg was concerned with depth at guard, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Rachel Friend scored a personal-best 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Lauryn Bush scored the Seahawks' first 10 points.
Hilton Head High allowed Beaufort High only one field goal for the first 11:37.
"We're young, and we're thinking too much," Beaufort High coach Reginald Jones said. "Come the 14th (start of region play), we'll be ready.'
Hilton Head High (9-4) -- Americal Jenkins 20, Rachel Friend 15, Lauryn Bush 15, Arantza Macarena 2, Da'Nesha Miller 2, Sydney Segars 2
Beaufort High (3-8) -- Naijuia Moyd 4, Lilly Allen 4, Jasmine Wallace 4, Regina Bolden 4, Monique Jones 2, Mattie Hibbs 2