Chronicle Staff Reports
With the recent end of the 2018-2019 high school basketball season, players and teams in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties led stellar campaigns that resulted in statewide recognition and title wins.
On the way to the Class 5A South Carolina High School Girls Basketball Championship game, the Goose Creek Gators defeated Irmo 60-39, Dutch Fork 51-20, Fort Dorchester 59-36, and Lexington 43-28. In the state final, Goose Creek outscored the Spring Valley Vikings 16-6 in the 4th quarter to capture the championship in thrilling fashion, 52-51. The Gators scored the last nine points of the game and did so within the final two minutes.
In a rematch that saw the Vikings mount a victorious comeback against Gators in the 2018 Lower State final, senior Mary Davis gave Goose Creek a one point lead with less than ten seconds left with two clutch free throws. Senior Shayla Nelson completed the triumph by blocking a shot on Spring Valley’s next possession and stealing a last-second inbounds pass to seal the win. The two teams have dominated SC girls basketball, combining for eight of the last eleven state championships. The Gators ended the season at 23-1.
In the Class 3A Girls bracket, Bishop England took home another Lower State title by racing past their first four playoff opponents (Edisto, Marion, Swansea, and Dillon) by an average of 31.5 points. In the state final, the Battling Bishops vanquished defending champion Keenan, 54-46, to earn its sixth state title in eight years. With a record of 28-1, Bishop England is in the midst of one of the most impressive runs in state basketball history. The game attracted the interest of South Carolina Gamecock Women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley, who sat courtside. The Battling Bishops avenged the previous season’s early playoff loss Ridgeland-Hardeeville, who wound up losing in the state final to Newberry.
The Military Magnet Academy Lady Eagles squad won its first regional championship in school history by going undefeated in region play. The team fielded four All-Region players and the region’s player of the year, Rykia Jakes. Team captain Breyon Forrest averaged 12 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. The Eagles finished the season at 16-5 after beating Green Sea-Floyds and losing to Lake View in the Class 1A playoffs.
The Berkeley High Stags won the Class 5A Boys Lower State Championship by winning their clash against Lexington, 47-42. Their following game, the state championship versus perennial power Dorman, saw the Stags lose in a hard fought 46-39 contest. A tight game throughout, the Stags suffered only their second loss of the season to a defensively-minded Dorman team that has now won three straight 5A state titles. The 2018-2019 season was one of the best in Berkeley High history.
Porter-Gaud combo guard Josiah James ends his high school career March 27 with the extraordinary honor of being named to the 42nd annual McDonald’s All-American Game. The top ranked player in state and top 20 in the country, James will become a member of SEC powerhouse Tennessee Volunteers this fall. He was a major contributor to the three state championship seasons Porter-Gaud claimed in the last four years and is only the second player from the Charleston area to play in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game.
Goose Creek’s Shayla Nelson and Berkeley High duo Trevur Smalls and Ishan White will participate in the 2019 Carolinas Classic All-Star Basketball Games, to be played March 23 in Wilmington, NC. “We are honored to have the best high school basketball student-athletes from our states come to Wilmington to not only compete at a high level in their respective games, but to be involved in outreach activities that touch youth and adults in the community,” said Shell Dula and Phil Weaver, executive directors of the South Carolina and North Carolina Coaches’ Associations, respectively.
The South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association honored the following players for the 2018-2019 season:
Class AAAAA Boys SCBCA All-State Team: Kenyatta Jenkins – West Ashley, Ishan White – Berkeley, Trevur Smalls – Berkeley, and Jalin Williams – Ashley Ridge.
Class AA Boys SCBCA All-State Team: Michael Shuler – Woodland and Darjawuan Brown – North Charleston.
Class A Boys SCBCA All-State Team: Wendell Seabrook – Charleston Math and Science.
Class AAAAA Girls SCBCA All-State Team: Shayla Nelson – Goose Creek, Augusta Dixon – James Island, Aujea Bowman – Fort Dorchester, and Anaze Ravenel – West Ashley.
Class AAA Girls SCBCA All-State Team: Katie Brooks – Bishop England and Ashley Bryan – Academic Magnet.
Class AA Girls SCBCA All-State Team: Jayla Evans – Timberland, Shada Kelly – Burke, Ca’Vashia Johnson – North Charleston, and Janiah Washington – Woodland.
Class A Girls SCBCA All-State Team: – Rykia Jakes – Military Magnet, Breyon Forrest – Military Magnet, and Shatyra Moree – Cross.