The Heathwood Hall boys basketball team had a little trouble with Hilton Head Prep shooters Randy Young and John Eck on Saturday.
Young led all scorers with 20 points, and Eck had 19. Luckily for the Highlanders, Alex Curtin was present under the hoop.
Curtin led the Highlanders with 14 second-half points — 18 overall, with nine rebounds — as Heathwood got past the Dolphins, 66-53, in the opening round of the SCISA 3A tournament at Heathwood Hall Gym.
“They’re always going to be a good team, always well-coached,” Heathwood coach Jeff Whalen said. “Our guys hung in there and kept on working hard. Alex did a great job.”
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Nigel Vaughn scored 13 points, and Ryan Ellis had 12 as the Highlanders (14-10) move on to play Cardinal Newman on Wednesday at the Sumter Exhibition Center.
Hilton Head Prep finishes 12-10.
The teams battled to a 17-17 tie in the first quarter until Heathwood Hall’s Trenton Fleming sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Highlanders went on a 10-0 run midway through the second.
Up 24-19, Heathwood got back-to-back 3-pointers from Vaughn and Josh Coldwell. Coldwell put in a basket and Mac Ellen sank a pair of foul shots to make it 34-19 with about two minutes to go in the half.
The Highlanders went to the locker room with a 35-24 halftime advantage.
The Dolphins stayed close with the shooting of Young and Eck, but Heathwood went on a 12-4 scoring run late in the third quarter and held a 51-37 lead going into the fourth.
“We were finally able to get somebody to pick up No. 23 (Eck), and that helped a lot,” Whalen said. “We knew coming in that he was good, but he’s a lot better than I’d thought.”
The Dolphins outscored the Highlanders 16-15 in the fourth quarter, but could not manage to climb back into the game.
“We knew we couldn’t get behind and we didn’t shoot well to start,” Hilton Head Prep coach Jerry Faulkner said. “We were a little nervous coming in, and it showed. But you have to give all the credit to coach Whalen and his team, they played better than us tonight. He’s a fine coach and they’re a fine team.”
Hilton Head Prep: Young 20, Eck 19, Mikell 6, Brooks 3, Marbut 3, Sulek 2. Heathwood: Curtin 18, Vaughn 13, Ellis 12, Ruble 7, Coldwell 7, Fleming 5, Ellen 4.