High School Sports

Visiting Eagles sweep BA squads

The idea was to use the opportunity as a learning experience, to get his second team some valuable, meaningful minutes.

Chalk it up as a lesson learned -- and luckily for Hilton Head Christian Academy's boys basketball team, it didn't have to be learned the hard way.

After being outplayed by an energetic, but short-handed Beaufort Academy team for most of the first half Monday night, Hilton Head Christian pulled away for a 55-36 road victory.

Beaufort Academy kept it close against Hilton Head Christian's unusual starting five for most of the first quarter, but when Beaufort Academy took a 12-10 lead on Jordan Littleford's layup, Hilton Head Christian coach Vinnie Emery went to the bench for his regular starters.

Still, Beaufort Academy led 17-12 after one quarter and didn't relinquish the lead until Chris Andrews tied it at 23 with a 3-pointer with 1:37 left in the half and Taylor MacDonald put Hilton Head Christian ahead for good with a driving layup less than a minute later.

"When they came over to our place, they played very hard against us over there, too," Emery said. "(Beaufort Academy coach Chip Dinkins) does a great job. They play hard. If you don't have your intensity level, that's what happens."

Littleford led the hot start for Beaufort Academy, scoring 14 of his game-high 18 points in the first half. It was precisely the effort Beaufort Academy needed from the junior to stay in the game without its top two scorers -- senior Bennett Fultz was lost earlier this month to a back injury, and sophomore Preston Suber missed Monday's game because of illness.

"We needed someone to step up, and he did the job," Dinkins said. "This was by far his best game of the year, and it was the night that we needed it most."

But Beaufort Academy was no match for Hilton Head Christian after it turned up the defensive intensity in the second half. Senior JaBrook Tucker and junior Taylor MacDonald scored 14 points apiece, and Hilton Head Christian pulled away for its second consecutive win.

"The guys responded a little bit there in the second half," Emery said. "What did we allow in the second half, 12 points? That's what we were looking for."

Hilton Head Christian boys 55, Beaufort Academy 36

HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN (14-7) -- JaBrook Tucker 14, Taylor MacDonald 14, Connor Millen 6, C.J. Evanofski 4, J.D. Meeder 4, Zach Reynolds 4, Brad Meccariello 3, Chris Andrews 3, Alex Martin 2, Kyle Weaver 2.

BEAUFORT ACADEMY (6-15) -- Jordan Littleford 18, Jack Griffith 7, Patrick Walker 5, Leif Koppernaes 4, Finn Koppernaes 2.

Hilton Head Christian girls 33, Beaufort Academy 25

For most teams, shooting 36 percent might not qualify as something to celebrate. But given the difficulty Hilton Head Christian's girls have had getting the ball in the basket at times this season, they'll take it.

Hilton Head Christian shot well enough to hold off Beaufort Academy for the second time this season, often getting easy baskets after breaking Beaufort Academy's press.

"They play teams like Hilton Head Prep and Northwood (Academy) and Pinewood (Prep), so I think they're a little more prepared when we put our press on," Beaufort Academy coach Jay Gardner said.

Anna Bensch led Hilton Head Christian with 12 points, Jaden Colella added nine, and Audrey Bensch had seven assists.

But interim coach Mike Colella, who is filling in while head coach Tommy Lewis is out of town, also praised Kelly Humes and Katherine Gehrt for their five rebounds apiece.

"Five rebounds doesn't sound like much, but they fought harder than they've ever fought," Colella said. "Because of them, we got a lot of secondary rebounds and extra shots."

Still, Gardner saw improvement in his team from its loss at Hilton Head Christian last month, which is what he wants as Beaufort Academy prepares for the SCISAA Class 2-A playoffs.

"We played a lot better this time," Gardner said. "Last time, we were tired and flat. This time, we moved the ball around a lot better."

Katherine Neal had 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead Beaufort Academy.

Hilton Head Christian girls 33, Beaufort Academy 25

HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN (3-19) -- Anna Bensch 12, Jaden Colella 9, Kelly Humes 5, Becky Woods 2, Audrey Bensch 2, Katherine Gehrt 2, Addy Bensch 1.

BEAUFORT ACADEMY (12-9) -- Katherine Neal 10, Miranda Weslake 7, Megan DeBardelaben 4, Megan Kahn 2, Charlotte Delfosse 2.