Chronicle staff reports
Local girls high school basketball teams North Charleston, Goose Creek, and Military Magnet Academy celebrated highly prosperous 2019-2020 campaigns. Each claimed Lower State regional titles, with North Charleston and Goose Creek going on to win State Championships as well. The three clubs featured S.C. Basketball Association All State players Aniyah Oliver (Goose Creek), Ca’Vashia Johnson (North Charleston), and Military Magnet teammates RyKia Jakes and Kaelin Davis.
The North Charleston Lady Cougars earned a spot in the South Carolina Class 2A title game by toppling Eau Claire 40-33, East Clarendon 63-45, Woodland 34-32, and ultimately the Latta Lady Vikings 51-44 after a dramatic second half comeback. They outscored Latta 36-13 in the last two quarters to keep their season alive.
In the March 6 state title game, the Lady Cougars staged another fourth quarter rally and took down reigning Class 2A champions Christ Church Episcopal 38-34 to win their first state title since 1984 and third overall. Once again, North Charleston only allowed 13 points in the second half as they overcame a seven point halftime deficit.
The Lady Cougars finished the season 22-9, going 8-1 in regional play. They were led by head coach Haley Weed, star guard Ca’Vashia Johnson, forward Sophia Simmons (All-Region selection), and forward Tranell Mitchell-Smalls (10 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks in the championship game).
2018-2019 Class 5A state champions Goose Creek Lady Gators won its fourth overall state championship this season, earning back-to-back titles in the process. They completed their latest season with a 27-3 record, going undefeated (10-0) in regional play. Entering this season with a huge target on their backs, the Lady Gators persevered and ended this season on an 18-game winning streak.
Once they advanced to the Class 5A 2019-2020 playoffs, the Lady Gators steamrolled South Florence 58-36, Ashley Ridge 53-38, and River Bluff 61-26 before they escaped with a 33-26 overtime victory over Wando.
In the March 6 state championship, Goose Creek won a hard-fought battle against Clover, 42-38. After trailing 23-20 heading into the fourth quarter, the Lady Gators captured their third title in four seasons behind clutch free throw shooting in the fourth.
7-AAAAA All-Region players Janise Shaw, Kolia Adams, and Aniyah Oliver combined to lead the Lady Gators to another state title behind the leadership of Tim Baldwin, the regional Coach of the Year. Goose Creek has won 78 straight games in the region, along with seven consecutive region championships.
The young Lady Eagles of Military Magnet Academy, propelled by burgeoning head coach Nathaniel Taylor, completed their best regular season in school history in 2019-2020. With an overall record of 22-6 and a second consecutive region championship, the girls now boast a 21-game region winning streak, going 11-0 this season.
In the Class A Playoffs, the Lady Eagles defeated Cross 54-33, Lake View 63-54, and Scott’s Branch 51-43 to claim the Lower State championship. They lost to High Point Academy in the state title game March 7, 50-60, in a valiant effort. After forcing 31 turnovers through the first three quarters, the youthful squad were outpaced in the final frame by the Grizzlies, who won their first-ever state championship after losing in the finals last season.
Freshman RyKia Jakes was selected as Region IV Player of the Year for the second time. The Lady Eagles won every game in region contests by an average of 51 points. Other awards this season were earned by Chazmin Bradley (9th grade), Jataya Brown (9th grade), and Sabri Mitchell (7th grade).