Hanahan boy's basketball team jumps into new season with deep, talented squad

Hanahan High School boys’ basketball coach Peter Smits says this year’s team is the deepest and most talented squad he’s had in his seven years at the school.

The Hawks have shooters, rebounders and playmaking guards, but sometimes you need the intangibles to win when the game is on the line. That’s why Smits and his squad came up with a motto for the 2017-18 season. The motto is: “You have to have heart.”

The Hawks have heart, but they’ve also experienced some growing pains as the season begins to unfold. They owned a 4-3 record after Monday night’s 45-39 home-court loss to Stratford. The Hawks led, but the Knights hit a pair of critical 3-point goals down the stretch to avenge a 44-41 loss to the Hawks six days earlier.

The Hawks have four seniors in the starting lineup and have the depth Smits mentioned. That led Smits to test his team earlier than usual as the Hawks played in the Stall High School’s State Farm Thanksgiving Classic Nov. 22-25. They opened the tourney with a loss to Pinewood Prep, but rebounded for victories over Lowcountry Leadership and Northwood Academy.

Guard Jalen Gibbs, who was an all-region selection last winter, was the star of the show in the tournament, averaging more than 20 points per game.

He has a more than adequate cast. Center Davis Wood has already recorded a double-double, one of three Hawks to accomplish the impressive athletic feat. Eric Snyder also has a 1-2 punch on the court while Josh Kinlaw gives the Hawks a good rebounding presence.

Smits doesn’t usually have his team play in a Thanksgiving tourney, but this year was the exception. “I figured I would just throw them into the fire,” he said. “That experience we gained will help us later. We played with heart and a lot of enthusiasm.”

If there is a flaw with this year’s team, it’s the offense, which sometimes goes AWOL. There have been at least two occasions where the team couldn’t even score double digits in a quarter. They scored only four points in one quarter against Pinewood and had just six in a quarter in the most recent loss.

“We just have to work on that,” Smits said. “It’s just a matter of getting back to the basics and executing correctly. If we do the little things the right way, it builds confidence.”

The Hawks will play in a second holiday tourney, the Orangeburg Sweet 16, which will be contested later this month. The Hawks will play Bethune-Bowman in the first round.

That will more than prepare the Hawks for the battles of Region 8-AAA play. It seems that Bishop England is the team to beat since the Bishops are the only region team ranked in the top 10 in the state, according to the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association.

Smits pointed out that Lake Marion has won state titles in the last 10 years while Timberland went to the state final four last year. Manning also usually has top-shelf talent.

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