Though still very early in the Region 8-AAAA schedule, Friday night’s region clash between Beaufort and Summerville was a huge game.

Summerville, the three-time defending region champions, are the favorite once again, but the visiting Eagles and cross-town rival Fort Dorchester figure to be strong challengers.

Winning at home is crucial and Summerville was able to get a leg up on Friday, knocking off the Eagles, 71-61.

Senior guard John Jenkins led the Green Wave (12-4, 2-0) with 35 points while center Christian Kalacanic added 11 and Xavier Robinson 10.

Beaufort dropped to 13-2 overall and 1-1 in region play. The Eagles were paced by senior Kendrick Colvin’s 17 points, leading four players in double figures.

“I thought the first 10 minutes of the game was about as well as we have played all season,” said Summerville coach Greg Elliott. “We were really good offensively and we were able to build a good lead. It’s a good thing because we sure needed it at the end.”

Jenkins almost singlehandedly propelled Summerville to a 39-28 lead at halftime, scoring 26 points, including four 3-pointers and a not so traditional four-point play.

Summerville led 19-10 after one quarter and opened up a 32-14 lead midway through the second before the Eagles turned up the pressure and closed the half on a 14-7 burst over the last three minutes.

Summerville maintained a 53-43 edge heading into the final period but the Eagles made one last run, cutting the margin to six at 62-56 with 3:40 remaining. The Green Wave managed to hold off the threat late, hitting seven of 10 free throws in the final two and a half minutes. Summerville made only 16 of 32 freebies on the night.

“We got a little gassed in the second half and we missed some free throws,” said Elliott. “But you have to credit Beaufort, too. They are a very talented basketball team. They have really good players. Colvin and Jenkins are probably the top two players in this region and they showed why tonight. I knew they would make a run and their pressure got to us some. We only play six guys and fatigue got us a little late in the game.”

The Summerville girls improved to 2-0 in region 8-AAAA with an easy 72-24 victory over Beaufort. Senior Heather Chapman paced Summerville with 16 points while junior Rodnesha Capers added 14. Senior forward Zuri Green chipped in with 12 points.

Summerville led, 9-0, two minutes into the contest. The Green Wave led, 34-15, by halftime and cruised to victory.

Summerville (71) – John Jenkins 35, Christian Kalacanic 11, Xavier Robinson 10, Wilkerson 6, Palmer 5, Singleton 4.

Beaufort (61) – Kendrick Colvin 17, Jawan Mack 14, Otis McClain 14, Adonis Grant 11, Owens 3, Johnson 2.

Beau – 10 18 15 18

Summ – 19 20 14 18