Ishan White and Trevur Smalls reared back and threw down monstrous dunks.
Amped to face his former squad, Cameron Fordham beat his chest at times while looking over at the Gators’ bench.
And the energy bounced off all four walls in Berkeley High School’s gymnasium. The Stags, powered by three of their stars, eventually pulled away from Goose Creek High School in a barnburner of an atmosphere.
Leaning on a wall a few feet into the gym was Joe Robinson, soaking it all in. The Stags, who had a championship-caliber team last winter, always played in front of a frenzied crowd.
The Stags and Gators played with loads of energy and the game meant something to both squads.
“It was the best game I had been to in a long time,” Robinson said. “I hadn’t seen that type of crowd in a long time. The place was packed. I was like I really miss this.”
The itch to coach crept in. The 52-year-old Robinson missed his place on a high school bench.
“There was some emptiness for sure,” he said.
Well, the wait is over for Robinson.
He will rejoin longtime friend Pieter Smits on the sideline at Hanahan High School. They made for a successful tandem once before.
“He was my assistant when I coached junior varsity at Goose Creek,” Smits said. “We won three Mulkeys together (Summerville’s JV holiday tournament). Having Joe back working with me is going to really help out the program. He understands my coaching style and what I expect. He has a lot of knowledge about the game but also the recruiting process and things like that.”
Smits left Goose Creek in 2011 and has been the leader of the Hawks ever since. Smits and Robinson were 63-33, with one undefeated season, as the Goose Creek JV staff from 2006-11 and Robinson coached the Gators JV one more year with Mike Bennamon, winning Summerville’s Mulkey Invitational along the way.
All four of Robinson’s sons – Treveon, Raemond, Kameron and Allen – had strong careers at Goose Creek High School. Three went on to play in college, with the youngest, Allen, still playing at Madison College in Wisconsin.
Robinson got out of coaching in 2012 when Raemond graduated and began to follow his second oldest son’s playing days. Kameron graduated GCHS in 2015 followed by Allen a year later.
Robinson focused on his full-time job at the Naval Weapon Station and traveled around with wife Kevette seeing games at Citadel, Charleston Southern, Spartanburg Methodist and Columbia International.
“I’ve been following my boys and their college careers,” Robinson said.
Kameron and Raemond will run in practice with the Hawks from time to time. It will be a case of iron sharpening iron. The competition should aid a young set of Hawks.
Hanahan will rely heavily on sophomores and freshmen in the winter. They made the playoffs in 2018-19 despite starting 1-8.
The Hawks lost eight seniors after the season, including all-region guards Richard Horry and Logan Ammons.
The lone starter set to return next season is senior guard Jason Albach but Hanahan has some young players ready to make their mark.
“I see some potential,” Robinson said. “I’m excited.”