CHARLESTON, S.C. − Hartsville searched for that spark to make a run like it made in the Red Foxes' lower-state semifinal victory over Aiken.
But for every Red Fox run, Hilton Head Island had an answer, and Hartsville's season ended with a 55-42 loss.
After one final Hartsville gasp, starting Monday's fourth quarter with a 7-0 run to bring the Red Foxes within 42-39, the Seahawks went on a 6-2 run and never looked back in the Class 4A lower-state final at James Island High School.
The Red Foxes finished the season with a 9-4 record.
Matching up in overall size with the Red Foxes, Hilton Head Island put that to use late in the second quarter with an 11-3 run to close the first half and lead 28-21.
After the first quarter went back and forth, with Hartsville's Xavier Thaggard slamming home a one-handed dunk to give the Red Foxes a 13-11 lead, the Seahawks steadily set the tone for their second-half flurry.
Hartsville took its final lead of the first half, 18-17, on a Jordan Blue layup. Then, a turnaround, inside jumper by Sam Summa provided the spark Hilton Head Island was looking for. Teammate Adam Clark added a 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 21-18.
A reverse layup by Will McCracken extended the Seahawks' lead to 24-19 before a Jamari Briggs jumper gave Hartsville its final points of the second quarter. McCracken added two free throws right before halftime, and it appeared Hilton Head Island was well on its way to the state final, which will be held Saturday at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.
But coach Yusuf English's Red Foxes would not go away, as a 3-pointer by Cesare Edwards and jumper by Briggs helped narrow the Seahawks' lead to 34-30. Hilton Head Island, however, kept its poise and struck right back with a couple of Summa layups. A layup by the Seahawks' Jayden Gilliam then gave his team its largest lead at 42-30.
Hartsville had plenty of highlights in this pandemic-shortened season. Once the Region 6-4A tournament started, the Red Foxes eked past Wilson and North Myrtle Beach before blowing out Myrtle Beach to win that region crown.
Jamari Briggs 11, LeXander 2, Benjamin 2, Cesare Edwards 18, Foman 2, Thaggard 3.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND (55)
Sneed 5, Will McCracken 16, Gillian 4, Sam Summa 14, Larkby 2, Adam Clark 12, Lugo 2