Ridgeland-Hardeeville, upset in the Class 2A Lower State boys' basketball semifinals a year ago, begins the new season ranked No.5 in Class 3A in the year's first Top 10 poll by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association.
The Jaguars held the top seed in last spring's 2A playoffs but saw their quest to give longtime coach Jeremiah Faber his long-sought first state title undone by Timberland. Faber enters the season two victories shy of 500 for his career.
Bluffton also made its way into the Class 3A rankings, opening at No.10 under new coach Michael Tew. Tyrese Sandgren also was recognized as one of the division's top five seniors.
Beaufort opens the season at No.8 in the Class 4A rankings.
Ridgeland-Hardeeville also has the area's top girls' team in the rankings, sitting at No.7 in the Class 3A rankings. Whale Branch will begin its season at No.8 in Class 2A.