Comeback kids: Goose Creek teams rally for sweep of Wando
Whether it was a rousing halftime speech, mastermind adjustments or just plain ol’ player motivation kicking in, something was clearly different about the Goose Creek teams that came out of the locker room in the second half.
Both teams overcame halftime deficits in the final two quarters en route to a sweep of Wando on Friday night in Mount Pleasant.
“It’s a credit to my young men,” Goose Creek boys coach Blake Hall said after the 62-54 victory virtually locked up the region title and a No. 1 seed for the playoffs. “They wanted to be successful and they showed it tonight.”
The Gators trailed 34-23 at halftime but gave a more energetic effort in the third quarter, going on a 19-7 run to gain the lead 42-41 with 1:17 left in the period.
“We just had to refocus and knock down shots,” junior guard Dantez Bennamon said. “We weren’t hitting shots and getting back on defense … we weren’t closing out (on defense) with a hand up.”
They still led 51-49 with 2:12 remaining in the game and salted it away from the free-throw line.
They improved to 17-4 overall and 6-1 in region play and end the region slate with a home game against Cane Bay.
“I had to confront them a little bit,” Hall said. “There were a few hanging heads. I told them it’s a long game and we’re a good enough team we could get back in it and hang with them. You’ve got to believe in each other.”
Chris Singleton led Goose Creek with 16 points, while Dantez Bennamon and Deshawn Evans chipped in 14 points apiece. Shaquille Patrick added nine points.
Richie Alston had 13 points to lead Wando (14-9, 4-2 region).
After Cane Bay, Goose Creek will begin the playoffs on Feb. 13 against a team from Region 8.
The Goose Creek girls basketball team had to overcome a halftime deficit too. The Lady Warriors led 23-17 at the break but Goose Creek came to life in the third quarter, going on a 27-2 run that rendered the fourth quarter a formality, winning 52-41.
“I challenged them at half,” said Lady Gators coach Tim Baldwin, whose team improved to 18-4 overall and locked down a second-place finish in the region with a 5-2 mark. “I told them we’re not playing Goose Creek basketball. We kept making the same mistakes over and over and playing soft. We finally kind of figured it out with our defense and ran off that 27-2 run.”
Chiquita Rivers led the Lady Gators with 12 points, while Ashley Fields and Alex Ludwig added 11 points apiece. Jalvin Jones had six points.
Fields and Rivers had six boards each, while Fields and Jones made five steals apiece.
Rachel Torlay led Wando with 12 points and Kim Smalls added 10 points. Smalls had 10 rebounds and Torlay seven.
The Lady Gators begin the playoffs against a team from Region 8 on Feb. 12 before a possible matchup at defending champion Dutch Fork, the No. 1 team in the state, on Feb. 15.
“I told them if we play like this (in the playoffs) we’ll be packing our stuff up quickly,” Baldwin said. “I told the seniors you’ve got two guaranteed games left.”