High School Sports

Bobcats visiting HHH girls in region showdown

Both want to hold bragging rights over their rival, at least until they meet again next month. Both are riding winning streaks that stretch all the way back before the new year. And, oh yeah, both have aspirations of a Region 7-AAA title.

To say the stakes will be higher than ever when the girls basketball teams from Hilton Head High and Bluffton High School tip off at 6 tonight in the Seahawks' gym would be an understatement.

"It's so important now, because we both really want to be region champs," Bobcats coach Lonnie Roberts said. "It's been a long road for both programs, and it means so much."

It means so much because both teams have played so well.

The Seahawks (17-1 overall, 4-0 in Region 7-AAA) haven't lost since a 44-43 loss to West Ashley on Dec. 19 in the second round of the Hilton Oceanfront Resort Holiday Classic, reeling off 10 consecutive victories since.

The Bobcats (13-5 overall, 4-0 in Region 7-AAA) have been nearly as hot, winning seven straight since wrapping up their own tournament with a loss Dec. 30.

With two lengthy winning streaks on the line -- not to mention first place in the region standings -- both teams expect a playoff-type atmosphere.

"(That) definitely brings the intensity high, and we have to just work hard," said senior Margo Dill, who leads the Seahawks with 16.3 points per game.

"We're going to go at it strong," Dill added. "We have to play really great defense and show them what we can do."

Hilton Head High has kept its winning streak alive by playing strong defense in close games; all four of its region wins have come by 10 points or fewer, and the Seahawks haven't allowed more than 36 points in any of them.

Nonetheless, sitting atop the region standings is a new vantage point for most of the Seahawks' players -- they finished 5-5 in region play a year ago -- so Roberts hopes the lessons the Bobcats learned while going 8-2 and tying North Charleston for the region title last year will help his team tonight.

"The past two years have been a growing experience for us," Roberts said. "We've never been in this situation very much, but I do think we've matured to a point where we know what's at stake, and we know how to handle it."