Monday, February 10, 2014
The top of Class 4A basketball continued to trade blows Friday as No. 4 Goose Creek knocked off No. 2 Wando, 59-42, at home.
Just over two weeks ago, Wando, ranked No. 3, knocked off No. 1 Goose Creek by 34 points at home. The Gators' win Friday served the Warriors their first loss in Region VII, and evened the two rivals for first place with a week left in the regular season.
Wando (18-4, 5-1) now controls its own destiny. If the Warriors win Tuesday at Stratford and Friday against West Ashley, they'll win the Region VII championship by margin of victory in the series against Goose Creek (21-2, 6-1). The Gators close their regular season schedule Tuesday, highly favored on the road against Cane Bay.
“Our guys are going to be hungry for these last two games,” Wando head coach David Eaton said. “They want that No. 1 seed and they know we have to have these next two to win the region and get it. Hopefully it's one of those things where it'll get us on a roll headed into the state playoffs.”
Wando hasn't seen too many teams this season match hot shooting with a strong defense the way Goose Creek did Friday. The Gators rained in 12 threes while limiting the Warriors to their second-lowest scoring game of the season.
Wando opened the game on a 10-1 run that felt like the Jan. 21 blowout in Mount Pleasant. But instead of folding, this time Goose Creek came back firing with three threes to close the quarter on its own 10-1 run. The Gators dropped in four more threes in the second quarter, two from Chris Singleton, to break open a 12-point lead by halftime.
Goose Creek opened the second half with three straight threes, two from Dantez Bennamon, to power a 9-2 run through the first three minutes. Wando switched defensive looks, rotated lineups, applied pressure but never recovered. They cut the deficit to nine points late in the third, and 10 with four minutes to play in the fourth but couldn't seriously threaten.
Bennamon finished with a game-high 18 points, Singleton added 15 and Jordan McElveen 10. Jamez Rogers led Wando with 13 points, Amp Moore and Matt Pegram both added eight.
“Goose Creek earned it tonight,” Eaton said. “I don't think my guys gave up one time tonight but (Goose Creek) did not stop hitting threes, you have to give them credit. Maybe we didn't talk as well, we needed a little bit more pressure but they were just hot all night.
“If we want to go far in the state tournament, a team is going to come out a punch us like they did tonight. We're a tough team and I think we have a chance to show that by how well we respond and come out and play next week.”