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Hilton Head Christian High School

HHCA boys basketball team finding the right chemistry in region

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Hilton Head – It took a little time to find the right mojo but the Hilton Head Christian boys basketball team is starting to click on all cylinders as the conference schedule begins.

The Eagles are under first-year head coach John Zolnik, who spent half of last season as the junior varsity coach. Zolnik was promoted to head varsity coach last summer, replacing Mac Tamminen, who left to coach at John Paul II.

Zolnik, also the defensive coordinator of the football team, says his team got off to a shaky start in part due to football responsibilities. Several basketball players also played football.

“We really didn’t have a lot of time to gel early on so we lost some games early,” the coach said. “But I knew from a talent standpoint, and an athletic standpoint, that we had the potential to be a competitive team once we got settled in. We struggled in the first few weeks but it wasn’t anything I didn’t expect. We had to find out who could do what and we had to establish our roles. Everyone else was sort of panicking but I felt we had a group that would compete once we got into region play.”

While the overall record is 4-8, the Eagles have opened region play with two wins, both in overtime.

“We’re clicking on all cylinders now, starting to come together,” said Zolnik, who grew up with a considerable background in basketball in Indiana. “We haven’t approached this as a rebuilding year, We’re trying to get better every time we go on the court. The players have matured and we’re building some good chemistry.

Of the eight-man varsity roster, Zolnik has only one senior – starting post Lukas O’Grady, a star goalkeeper for the school’s soccer team.

Junior small forward Daniel Harrington is the team’s leading scorer and sophomore J.P. Peduzzi is starting at the other forward. Freshman Jace Blackshear is the starting point guard and junior Floyd Hargrove is his backcourt mate.

Seeing considerable time off the bench are junior post Robert Hall, and sophomore guards Liam Sirgo and Cameron Strickland. Sirgo is one of the team’s best perimeter shooters while Strickland is a speedy defensive specialist.

“They all play and all contribute,” Zolnik said. “We rely on every player to do his job and be productive. I think the more we play, the better we get and that’s a good sign as we try to compete in the region.”

Zolnik says the junior varsity program currently has 14 players and the middle school program shows considerable promise as well.

“Our future is bright,” the coach said.

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