FINISHING STRONG

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Eagles shoot 2nd-half highlight reel in rout of Hurricanes

By Justin Jarrett
LowcoSports.com

It was another slow start for the Beaufort Academy boys on Friday, but the finish — ooooh, boy, was it fun.

The Eagles stumbled out of the gate before taking control and putting on a show in the second half of a 74-39 rout of Coastal Homeschool on Senior Night. BA had five players in double figures and erupted for 64 points over the final three periods, including 26 in the fourth.

Braxton Tolbert scored 16 points and Ben VanHise added 15 to lead the way for the Eagles, using their size advantage to dominate in the paint. Braydon Dineen gave BA a huge spark with 13 points, including eight in quick succession in the third quarter, while Elijah Fess added 12 and Malachi Rodriguez had 11.

The Eagles were able to get to the rim repeatedly, but the shots weren’t dropping in the first quarter and Coastal was able to grind out an 11-10 lead after the period.

It didn’t last.

Dineen splashed a 3-pointer to break the seal on the basket, and BA’s guards and bigs alike began scoring inside at will as the Eagles ran out to a 32-18 halftime lead. Dineen caught fire coming out of halftime, scoring on a series of jumpers and acrobatic layups, and the big men took over in the fourth.

The Eagles swiped one steal after another in the final quarter, generating a series of breakaways including thundering dunks from Tolbert and Rodriguez. Fess was a steady presence throughout, slashing to the basket with some impressive finishes at the rim.

The Eagles kept it going with a 54-33 road win over Lowcountry Leadership on Monday, as freshman guard Ben Frey scored 17 points and VanHise added 12 to give BA its first back-to-back wins since a 2-0 start to the season. 

The Eagles needed a buzzer-beating layup from Fess to escape with a 52-51 win in their first trip to Hollywood on Nov. 30, but they had no trouble putting away the NaviGators in the rematch.

Frey put on a show, scoring in myriad ways, including splashing 3s, driving to the basket, and turning steals into layups, while VanHise kept up his hot play and Fess added nine points. Dineen let a stout defensive effort for BA, locking down NaviGators sharpshooter Clay Schaffer, who poured in 21 points in a loss to Whale Branch on Friday but was limited to two technical free throws Monday.

BA (6-5) hosts Hilton Head Prep for a region matchup Jan. 5.

BA’s Malachi Rodriguez throws down a dunk during the second half of the Eagles’ 74-39 (double check that) win over Coastal Homeschool on Friday. Photo by Justin Jarrett / LowcoSports.com