Sports: The Year in Review
The final minutes have ticked off the clock in 2012 and it’s time to look back at the year and relive some of the moments that made it one to remember or forget.
What follows is not a ranking but a look back at many of the individual sports stories and moments that were important to the Gazette-area readership.
We’re sure there were some others that meant a great deal to you as well.
Goose Creek booted from playoffs
Goose Creek’s football season came to a stunning and devastating conclusion in November.
First, the unbeaten Gators were made to forfeit their 48-7 playoff victory over Conway by the South Carolina High School League for using an ineligible player.
Then, they were reinstated by a circuit court judge on a Friday morning, enabling the Gators to defeat Bluffton 35-25 in a second round game later that night. But he also ruled the Gators had to reappear in front of the SCHSL Executive Committee two days later in an open meeting and they were removed from the playoffs again.
“In 38 years of being associated with coaching football and athletics, I’ve never seen such a total disregard, not only for the truth but, a lack of care or concern for kids,” GCHS coach Chuck Reedy said. “… There was obviously no interest by this committee to get to the truth. They had their mind made up.”
At the heart of Reedy’s comments was the harshness of the penalty and the widespread devastation it caused the Goose Creek community. A self-reporting team was given the same treatment as one who would knowingly cheat.
The issue began when Huskey discovered a problem on the player’s transcript while reviewing eligibility for basketball on Nov. 12. The transcript had been updated since the athlete’s eligibility review in August for football and showed four prior years of high school. The original transcript used in August showed just three years of high school and that the student-athlete last attended Berkeley High School in 2011-12, so he cleared the eligibility process at that time.
Reedy and Huskey notified the SCHSL within 90 minutes of finding the possible violation and were promptly booted from the playoffs, leading to the week-long saga that saw the Gators’ repeat title shot slip out of their grasp. The extra year on the transcript was from Woodmont High School in 2008-09.
At the time, he was at Generations group home in Simpsonville, a home for abused boys. He did receive credit for completing some freshman work at WHS but he never physically attended classes at WHS.
Lawyers for Goose Creek and the school district argued the student-athlete’s eight semesters of athletic eligibility should have begun in 2010 when he first attended high school at Berkeley.
“Changes have to be made,” Reedy said. “I don’t know that what they did to us helped anybody at all.”
The player was a special needs student on a non-diploma track that played just 17 snaps out of nearly 1,600 during the Gators’ 13-0 season. He never entered a game Goose Creek wasn’t winning by at least 41 points.
Tramel Terry is Mr. Football
Goose Creek football standout Tramel Terry capped a phenomenal day in early December by winning the state’s Mr. Football Award. He had signed with the University of Georgia less than 12 hours earlier.
“He exemplifies everything that a student-athlete should be,” Gators football coach Chuck Reedy said. “He characterizes the three elements that Goose Creek football is built on. He is an excellent student, carrying a 3.3 GPA. He has great character, leadership qualities, treats everyone with respect and gives of his time and effort to make a difference in our school and community. He has worked very hard to become the best football player he could be.”
The senior receiver/running back accounted for nearly 1,900 yards and 24 touchdowns this season and finished as the only four-year starter in Reedy’s 11 years at GCHS.
Terry was chosen for the award over Byrnes receiver Akia Booker, Conway quarterback Mykal Moody, Strom Thurmond running back Darius Hammond and T.L. Hanna linebacker Ben Boulware.
The award was first handed out in 1995.
Boys of Summer
It was another successful summer on the diamond for the local American Legion baseball team. The group of high school players from various area schools won the League 1 championship for the third year in a row and went on to finish third in the state tournament in July.
All but five players can return this summer, including ace pitcher and outfielder Zach Lavery.
Lavery was 6-0 on the mound with two saves, fashioning a 1.70 earned-run average and fanning 59 batters in 46-plus innings pitched. He also had a perfect fielding percentage from his spot in centerfield and batted .341. He had team highs with 16 stolen bases and 25 walks.
Fellow Citadel signee Zack Wimmer could also be back. He led the team with a .384 batting average and drove in a team-high 39 runs.
Leading hitter Michael Gonzalez, who played both infield and outfield, batted .381 this past summer and was second with 11 stolen bases.
He led the group moving on, along with pitcher/outfielder Daniel Huskey, who batted .293 with 22 RBIs and posted a 3-2 mark on the mound. Catcher Dalton Franke is finished too after batting .304 and fielding both catcher and first base positions well.
Stackley leads SC to Shrine Bowl win
In December, Stratford football coach Ray Stackley guided an underdog South Carolina squad to a 23-19 win over North Carolina in the 76th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, played at Wofford College.
“It’s a great honor to coach in this game and it’s great to win,” Stackley said after the win. “It’s such a big challenge. Our staff did a great job since last spring when we started looking at this thing and those guys worked hard.”
Goose Creek standouts Gerald Turner and Tramel Terry also represented the Sandlappers in the game. In a downer of a moment, Terry was injured on the opening kickoff and Turner had six tackles and an interception.
Stratford’s cheerleading squad and offensive line coach Tony Smith were also part of the South Carolina side
Savage second team All-ACC
Former Stratford soccer standout and Clemson senior forward Austin Savage was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference men’s soccer second team in November. Savage played in 18 matches this season, scored eight goals and dished out assists for 20 points. He had a hat trick against Gardner-Webb match as he scored three goals all in the first half on Oct. 16. He became the first Tiger to have 20 or more points in a single season since 2006. The eight goals were also the most scored by a Clemson player since the 2006 season.
Knights’ Ruggles inducted into soccer hall
Scott Ruggles coached the Stratford boys soccer team from its inception in 1983 to 2003, compiling a 245-135-8 career record. His teams qualified for the playoffs 15 times and he was the Berkeley County coach of the year eight times and the region coach of the year six times.
Welch an All-SEC Freshman
Former Goose Creek High School basketball standout and current USC Lady Gamecocks forward Aleighsa Welch was named to the Southeastern Conference’s all-freshman team.
Welch played in 33 games and was South Carolina’s top rebounder with 6.06 boards per game to go along with her average of 7.6 points per game, which was fourth on the squad.
She was 13th in the SEC in rebounding and second among league freshmen.
To start the 2012-13 season for the Lady Gamecocks, she was averaging 12.7 points and 9.5 rebounds through December 26.
Both Goose Creek girls basketball coach Tim Baldwin and Stratford football coach Ray Stackley hit milestones during their respective seasons in 2012.
Both won their 250th games.
Stackley’s historic win came in September when the Knights defeated Fort Dorchester 28-21. Junior quarterback Jacob Park helped usher the Knights to the victory. He passed for nearly 270 yards and scampered for over 60, having a hand in three touchdowns.
“I’ve got to be honest,” Stackley said. “Something like this is not an individual accomplishment. We’ve had a lot of great players and coaches come through here. We’ve had great support from the community and the administrators. This is a school award and a team thing. It’s not just about me.”
Baldwin’s victory came in December, with the Lady Gators rolling past Berkeley 66-22 at GCHS. Center Semoine Frasier and guard Alex Ludwig had 14 and 11 points respectively to lead the way for the Lady Gators.
“This is not a ‘me’ achievement,” said Baldwin, in his 12th season in charge. “This is a ‘we’ achievement. It doesn’t matter how good a coach is, you’ve got to have the players that want to get better and be the best they can be.”
Gators play Cane Bay on ESPNU
The national spotlight shined on the Goose Creek Gators football team in October when they were televised nationally by ESPNU.
Their victim for the showing was Cane Bay.
The nationally-ranked Gators made it look easy against the outmanned Cobras, racing to a 21-0 lead after a quarter en route to their 21st straight victory. Tramel Terry and Caleb Kinlaw each scored three touchdowns for the Gators.
Kinlaw had 186 yards rushing on 14 carries, while Terry had 151 all-purpose yards.
Lady Gators advance to semifinal
This Goose Creek girls basketball team carried on the Lady Gators’ winning tradition but wasn’t able to get as far as it had hoped.
Coach Tim Baldwin’s team lost in the Lower State final, 51-43, on Friday to Orangeburg-Wilkinson, ending the year in tears at the Florence Civic Center in late February. The Lady Gators were denied a third straight trip to the final in Columbia.
“They played with great effort, a lot of determination and pride in who they are and what they represent,” Baldwin said. “It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to, one, build a program and, two, to keep it going. “
The Lady Gators finished 24-5.
The loss was the final moment in a Lady Gators uniform for North Carolina signee N’dea Bryant (10.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.6 SPG), Brittani Doctor (9.3 PPG), Mikayla Tanner (5.2 PPG), Brendysha Liner (7.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG) and Nicole Taylor.
Gators first-ever season sweep of Stratford in baseball
Goose Creek’s baseball team has long been a distant second to city rival Stratford in the annual series but in April the Gators completed a season sweep of the Knights. It was the first time ever.
“Obviously, it’s huge,” Gators baseball coach Scott Durham said.
Durham’s team no-hit Stratford 5-0 on March 19 then won again 8-4 on March 31.
The Gators came back from a four-run deficit to double up the Knights in the second game, played at GCHS.
Chris Singleton’s solo blast in the fourth inning tied it 4-4 before Cody Smith’s two-run triple gave the Gators the lead for good.
Tyler Rio followed with an RBI double for a 7-4 lead.
Zach Lavery scored on an error in the sixth inning for Goose Creek’s final run.
Smith was the winning pitcher for the Gators, going four innings and allowing five hits, two runs and three walks. He struck out three batters.
Rio threw the final three innings to earn a save and worked around four walks by striking out four batters.
Hanahan wrestling repeat
The Hawks wrestling team swooped in on their second straight Class AA state championship in February, capping a season of growth with a 40-34 win over Emerald at Dreher High School.
“We had the best program,” said Hanahan coach Ray Adkins, whose team finished 21-7. “The best program won the state championship this year. We graduated seven guys after last year and another didn’t come back because of an injury.
“That’s the type of program we’re trying to have around here, one that reloads not rebuilds.”
Bryce Ellis, Dennis Flores, Jacob Garibay, Kevin Murray and J.J. Johnson all recorded pins for the Hawks, while Brett Maddox had a major decision victory.
Flores and Johnson later won individual state titles for the Hawks.
As usual, some coaches moved out and others moved in 2012. At Goose Creek High School, the Blake Hall era began in boys basketball. Hall led North Charleston to the Class AA crown last winter and had the Gators off to an 8-1 start heading into the Roundball Classic on Dec. 27.
Also in 2012, Ira Owens took over the Cane Bay girls basketball team, Katrina Moffett took over the Hanahan softball program and Laurie Henderson became coach of the Hanahan girls basketball team.
Cane Bay’s Ashlee Eady and Hanahan’s Chris Brown captured individual state titles at the state track and field meet in May.
Eady won the high jump in Class AAA and Brown was the triple jump champ in Class AA.
Brown is now a freshman football player for Notre Dame, which takes on Alabama in the BCS National Championship football game on Jan. 7.
Never Ever Give Up
Various teams at all local high schools donned pink at some time during 2012 in the ongoing battle with cancer.