Brett Macy wanted movement.
In recent games, his Bluffton High School boys basketball team had been slow to react to opponents' zone defense. The Bobcats coach wanted the ball snapped around the perimeter.
He saw the pace he wanted Tuesday.
Bluffton created separation at the 3-point line early, knocked down big shots and held on to a large first-half lead to defeat Beaufort High School, 52-49. The Bobcats improved to 3-2 in Region 8-AAAA, breaking free from a four-way tie for second. Beaufort High slipped to 2-3 in region play.
Beaufort High rallied during the second half but never led after the first quarter.
"We've got a lot of guys with a lot of experience, so we've been in this situation plenty of times," Bluffton guard C.J. Frazier said. "We're used to it."
Frazier benefited most from the Bobcats' ball movement. He finished with 18 points. Guard Anthony Smith's 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter slowed the Eagles' momentum after the lead closed to one.
Macy was wary of Beaufort High's Kendrick Colvin, whom the Bobcats coach called the best player in the region. Colvin scored all 13 of his points during the second half to help fuel Beaufort High's comeback attempt, including a tip-in at the buzzer.
"He is a handful, but we did a good job on him," Macy said.
Bluffton held Beaufort High to two field goals during the second quarter and led by 10 at halftime. The ball movement eventually drew the Eagles out to the perimeter, and the Bobcats were able to feed the post for easy baskets.
Beaufort High coach Bruce Beasley said his team has played better since the holiday break, with a full roster starting to play better together. But the combination of the slow start and Bluffton's execution were too much to overcome late.
"I thought we did a good job of competing," Beasley said. "We gave them too many 3s, and we had a lot of defensive breakdowns and gave them about 10 points worth of layups."
Smith said the Bobcats need to do a better job of boxing out, that Beaufort High likes to shoot and get after the offensive rebounds for easy baskets.
"That's what kept them in the game," he said.
Bluffton boys 52, Beaufort High 49
Beaufort High (11-6, 2-3 Region 8-AAAA)-- Kendrick Colvin 13, Adonis Grant 10, Thomas Parker 8, Lamont Fripp 5, Anthony White 4, Otis McClain 4, Carlton Johnson 2.
Bluffton (10-5, 3-2)-- C.J. Frazier 18, Ahdonus Cofer 11, Anthony Smith 5, Jeremy Scott 4, B.J. Hill 4, Harlan Kendrick 2, Chance Murphy 2, Demetrius Smalls 1.
Bluffton girls 38, Beaufort High 30
One team was going to break a trend Tuesday and earn its first Region 8-AAAA win.
Playing at home and executing well early ensured it would be the host Bobcats. Bluffton coach Lonnie Roberts said he was glad for the win but was frustrated when he tried different combinations on the floor with a comfortable margin.
Beaufort High closed on a 10-2 run, including the final eight points. Roberts was left with a sour taste, despite the region milestone.
"It's tough, he said. "I'm just hoping we continue to find a way to grow."
The Bobcats led by as many as 17 during the third quarter, after an 8-0 run. Then Roberts worked his bench, trying to develop some depth.
Beaufort High (1-16, 0-5 Region 8-AAAA)-- Jordan Fields 11, Kaitlyn Hamilton 5, Jasmine Wallace 4, Aailiyah Smalls 2, Regina Bolden 2, Mattie Hibbs 1.
Bluffton (4-11, 1-4) -- Dynasty Mervin 14, Tiffany Banks 8, Rickii Alexander 6, Autumn Card 4, Johnnie Gaston 4, Diamon Smalls 2, Monique Whitley 2.