BY PHILIP M. BOWMAN

pbowman@postandcourier.com

The Summerville boys’ basketball team is on the verge of the Region 8-AAAA championship. As the regular season winds down and the playoffs prepare to heat up, the Green Wave will seek to improve its state stature.

The Green Wave stumbled out of the gate Tuesday night, falling behind 9-0 against Beaufort in the first quarter.

But coach Greg Elliot’s squad righted the ship and gained a 69-47 victory.

The Green Wave (17-4, 7-0), who can clinch the region title with a victory at Bluffton on Friday, is enjoying its best season since 2008 when former Summerville star A.J. Green led the team to its first state championship.

The Green Wave began the day as the Lowcountry’s top-ranked boys’ team.

They checked in at No. 8 in the latest state poll. West Ashley is right behind at No. 9 and Goose Creek is No 10.

“We haven’t talked about the state ranking,” Elliot said. “That will be our talk for (today). We’ve focused on the region. We’re 26-5 the last 3½ years. We’ve been under the state radar.”

The difference in the game was rebounding. Beaufort had eight offensive rebounds in the first quarter to gain the lead. But the Eagles had only one in the second quarter and a handful in the second half as the Green Wave adjusted on the glass to pick up its ninth straight victory.

Brandon Wilkerson led the winners with 27 points, including 16 in the second half. Kelvon Bellinger added 16. John Jenkins, who usually scores in double figures, was held to seven.

“Brandon played with a lot of aggressiveness, the most he’s had in three years,” Elliott said.

“If he played with fire in his belly every night, he could be awesome.”

The slow start has been Summerville’s trademark this season. The Wave has fallen behind in the first quarter, many times with double-digit deficits.

“I don’t know why we come out of the gate so slowly,” Elliot said. “We’ve even cut down on practice time. I don’t think it’s because our kids think the other team is going to bow down to us because of our record. But we’ve played well in the second, third and fourth quarters.”

Jawan Mack and Thomas Parker led Beaufort (12-7, 2-5) with 10 points apiece.