Sans Hall, Gators fight through adversity
In a heated environment and minus their head coach, the Goose Creek Gators survived a dogfight with rival Stratford on Friday night, continuing their domination in the series.
Dantez Bennamon scored a game-high 20 points and Chris Singleton added 11 points as the Gators pulled out a 46-39 victory in the Region 7-AAAA matchup on Crowfield Boulevard.
The Gators (19-2, 4-1 region) trailed by as many as eight points in the first half but battled back in the defensive struggle.
Stratford led 17-14 at halftime. Goose Creek came back to take the lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Knights 18-11 in the period to take a 32-28 lead heading into the final stanza.
Demetre Rivers led the Knights (15-6, 2-3 region) with 15 points, while Thad Thompson added 13 points.
Goose Creek coach Blake Hall was reprimanded by school principal Jimmy Huskey for holding a voluntary shootaround after last Tuesday’s early dismissal day and suspended for one game. Berkeley County School District officials called for the early dismissal with inclement weather creeping into the area and cancelled afterschool activities.
District officials heard about the workout and Huskey said it was an administrative decision to sit Hall down for a game. He didn’t elaborate further on that point and said the story was about Goose Creek’s players rising to the occasion to fight off a strong effort from their rivals.
Goose Creek assistant coach Scott Kinney, who served in Hall’s place, also had no comment.
Hall was to return for Tuesday night’s home game against West Ashley.
On Sunday, Hall said he was proud of his kids for pushing through the adversity to get the victory.
“I think that says a lot about the kids,” he said. “They had some adversity and they fought back… It makes me proud.”
After West Ashley, the Gators are set to meet Wando in a rematch of a 76-40 loss in Mount Pleasant last month.
“They are definitely the most talented team in our region,” Hall said of the Warriors. We’ve got to tighten things up a little bit.”