The best basketball season in Berkeley High School history came to a crushing conclusion on Friday.
The Stags fought hard but fell to now three-time defending champion Dorman High School, 46-39, in the Class 5A boys championship game in Colonial Life Arena.
Berkeley ends the campaign with a 26-2 record while Dorman finished 28-3.
“Wow, what a historic season we had,” Berkeley coach Joe Wallace said. “The community, as I’ve said for the last month or so, has done a great job of supporting us. We appreciate that. You could probably go to Moncks Corner right now and nobody’s there. They rallied around us.”
The championship game was the last for 10 seniors, who helped lead the historic season. All four of the top scorers are moving on.
“We accomplished all of our goals except for one, and that was winning the state championship,” Wallace said.
The Stags turned it over 21 times and made just 1 of 9 shots behind the arc in their lowest point production of the season. They shot 36 percent from the floor.
“On the big stage we had some turnovers that were uncharacteristic of us,” Wallace said. “That’s part of the game. Even with those turnovers, we still had a shot there at the end. We had a chance to win and that’s a testament to our guys playing hard.”
The score was tied four times, the last time at 25-25 early in the second half before Dorman went on an 8-2 run. The Cavs stayed in front the rest of the way but Berkeley hung around.
Solomon Butler's layup early in the fourth pulled the Stags within 33-31 but Myles Tate answered with a baseline jumper to make it a two-possession game again for Dorman.
Trevur Smalls made a layup with 1:05 left to cut the Stags’ deficit to 41-37. Dorman maintained a safe distance by hitting five of six from the charity stripe.
Senior guard DJ Chisolm led Berkeley with 14 points while Smalls, also a senior, finished with 10 points. Senior forward Ishan White scored seven points and led the rebounding effort with 13 boards.
The Stags won the battle of the boards, 33-27, and turned Dorman over 16 times. The Cavs shot 38 percent from the floor. The 46 points was the second lowest point output of the season for Dorman.
“The story of our team is selling out on defense and being unselfish on offense,” Wallace said. “We preach ‘we before me.’ It didn’t turn out how we wanted but I’m pleased with all these young men.”
Berkeley’s largest lead was four points in the opening half and Dorman led 23-22 at the break. The Cavs led 33-29 going into the last eight minutes.
“The game went how I expected it to go,” Wallace said. “I knew it was going to go back and forth. I didn’t think we were going to blow them out and I knew they weren’t going to blow us out.”
Tate had a game-high 19 points for Dorman.
Berkeley has a rebuild ahead. The Stags lose all five starters from the championship game, including all-stars White and Smalls. Junior guard Hakeem Megett can return after averaging 7.4 points and three rebounds a game.
He had six points against Dorman.
Butler, a sophomore guard, was a regular contributor and played 15 minutes in the championship game, scoring two points. Junior forward Marcel Jackson averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 boards.
“I’m hoping it’s the beginning of something special,” Wallace said. “We have good B-Team and JV feeder programs. We’re going to get back in the lab and keep working.”
Berkeley (39) DJ Chisolm 14, Trevur Smalls 10, Ishan White 7, Hakeem Meggett 6, Solomon Butler 2.
Dorman (46) Myles Tate 19, Jack Renwick 11, Ta’Lon Cooper 7, PJ Hall 4, Kamal Desor 4, Tyrese Pilgrim 1.