John Drafts knew something was up. He just wasn't sure the scope.
As colleagues and friends worked to put together a program recognizing his 2010 retirement as Battery Creek boys basketball coach, Drafts stayed somewhat in the dark. The program came together Feb. 12 at Battery Creek and included numerous speakers, a dinner and tribute video.
Former Battery Creek basketball player Darrin Moultrie hosted the event. Battery Creek nurse Diane Murray helped organize the program.
"It was a lot more than I ever expected and ever knew about," Drafts said.
Drafts coached the Dolphins boys almost 30 years. He stepped down in March 2010 after 343 wins, but remains as the school's athletics director.
Guest speakers for the banquet included longtime Beaufort High boys basketball coach Bruce Beasley, former longtime Hilton Head High basketball coach Greg Elliott, former Battery Creek girls basketball coach Wilbert Bryant and members of Drafts' family.
"We had a heck of a relationship. It was very competitive," said Beasley, who coached against Drafts the better part of two decades. "I think, when it's all said and done, he shouldn't be remembered for the wins and losses, but for the type of gentleman and person he really is."
Drafts said he has not ruled out a return to coaching, but added he is not actively seeking another coaching job. The Dolphins athletics director is in the process of filling his open head football coaching job. Interviews began this past week, and Drafts said he hopes to have three candidates by the end of the week to recommend principal Ed Burnes.
"Anything's possible," Drafts said. "There are no immediate plans to coach again. But I certainly would entertain opportunities if they come along and kind of keep my options open."
Five area wrestlers, two coaches selected to North/South event
Beaufort County will be well represented at the 23rd annual North/South All-Star Wrestling Classic.
Hilton Head High's Campbell Miller (130) and Nic Levy have been selected for the prestigious state event. Miller qualified for his second appearance at the Class 3-A state tournament this weekend. Levy has missed the majority of the season with a broken collarbone, but the rest of his resume includes three state tournament appearances.
Battery Creek's Bear Childers (215) was also selected. Childers won his bracket at the Class 3-A Lower State qualifier Saturday at Bluffton High School and will take the top seed into next weekend's state tournament at the Civic Center of Anderson.
Beaufort High will have two representatives -- E.J. Johnson (135) and Kenan Jackson. Jackson, who has not lost to a Class 4-A opponent all year, is the top-seeded wrestler at 160 pounds.
Hilton Head High coach Mike Newton and Beaufort High coach Bill DaMude have also been honored by the wrestling event. Both will be coaches for the South team. Newton will represent Class 3-A, and DaMude will represent Class 4-A.
HHP'S LAYMAN LEADS ALL-REGION PICKS
Hilton Head Prep's Matt Layman was named the SCISAA Region 3-AAA player of the year, heading the 10-player boys all-region team selected in voting by region coaches.
Layman, a senior guard, leads the Dolphins with 16.6 points and 3.2 steals per game, ranks second on the team with 5.2 assists per contest and adds 5.0 rebounds per game. Teammate Dimitri Lowry, a junior guard who averages 10.9 points, 6.0 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 3.0 steals, joins Layman on the all-region team.
Hilton Head Christian's JaBrook Tucker (16.8 points, 2.7 assists, 2.6 steals) and Taylor MacDonald (11.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists) also made the team. Tucker is a senior guard, and MacDonald is a junior forward.
The Eagles (14-10) were eliminated in the first round of the SCISAA Class 3-A playoffs with a loss to Orangeburg Prep on Saturday. Hilton Head Prep (18-8) will face Heathwood Hall in the SCISAA Class 3-A quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sumter County Exhibition Center.
Hilton Head Prep's three selections to the 10-player girls all-region team matched Pinewood Prep for the most. Sophomore guard Jill Brunori (16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 8.5 steals), senior forward Kate Brunori (13.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.4 steals) and senior guard Kathleen Blum (8.2 points, 6.1 assists, 3.6 steals) were named to the team. Northwood Academy's Amber Campbell was picked as player of the year.
The Dolphins (24-5) will face Orangeburg Prep in the SCISAA Class 3-A quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Sumter County Exhibition Center.
Pinewood Prep's Pat Eidson (boys) and Nancy Beatty (girls) were named the region's coaches of the year.
JAGUARS READY FOR ANOTHER TEST
At this point, the remaining teams in the Class 1-A girls basketball playoffs share common knowledge: Nothing will come easy.
Ridgeland will travel today to face Burke at Woodland High School in the third round. The winner will advance to the Lower State final at The Citadel.
"Once we get to the third round and beyond, it's always going to be tougher than the previous rounds," Ridgeland coach Frederick Toomer said. "It's going to be a battle, regardless."
Toomer and the Jaguars will be the home team for the third round, but the game is played at a neutral site. Burke has not lost since Jan. 15. The Bulldogs ran through Region 6-A without a loss. Their closest margin of victory was a 17-point win at Military Magnet.
Burke defeated Hardeeville and Murray in the first two rounds. The Bulldogs are led by guard Bria Brown (8.9 ppg) and post player Shawanna McNeil (7 ppg, 11 rpg).
Toomer said the Jaguars will rely on their defense to create points, as it has much of the season. Guards April Jenkins and Briana Walker lead the pressure up top for Ridgeland.
"Ideally, our defense will lead to offense," Toomer said. "We want to force turnovers or force bad shots and then get the rebound or steal and push it up the court."