High school hoops roundup
It’s just about a month away from March Madness, when the High School League crowns its state champions after a weekend of action at the Colonial Life Center in Columbia.
But for now, attention is focused on region play, when every game can influence the league standings and set up the seedings for the playoffs.
For two Daniel Island area schools, the playoffs are a distinct possibility. Bishop England and Hanahan are in the mix for postseason competition, while Philip Simmons adjusts to life on the court as the school competes in hoops for the first time with a roster that includes mostly freshmen and sophomores.
The Bishop England girls’ team is the gold standard for schools in the middle classifications, Class AA and AAA. Paul Runey’s squad has won four straight state championships and five in the last six years as the Bishops enjoy their golden age in basketball.
The Lady Bishops, who began the season as the No. 1 Class AAA team in the state, fell to No.9 in the polls, but rebounded to be included in the top 5 again. The team entered this week’s play with a 13-4 record, including 5-0 in region play. The Bishops, who have won 85 region games in a row, played Manning Tuesday night. A victory would clinch first place for the Bishops, who take on Hanahan Friday night.
The Hanahan girls, meanwhile, began the week with a 5-9 record, including 1-3 in region play.
The most interesting race for a region championship just might be in Region 7-AAA where three boys’ teams are in contention. Manning and Bishop England share the league lead with 4-1 records in conference play while Hanahan is right behind with a 3-1 record.
The Bishop boys’ team, which had a three-game winning streak, has a demanding week. They were scheduled to play Manning Tuesday and follow that up with a game against Hanahan on Friday.
Hanahan is in contention thanks to the play of Jalen Gibbs and Nick McKnight. Gibbs is having a season worthy of all-state status. He is averaging 17.2 points, 2.4 steals and 2.4 assists per game.
McKnight is averaging 13.2 points, 3.0 steals and 5.0 rebounds an outing. Noah Mills is the Hawks’ top rebounder with 7.1 boards per game.
The Philip Simmons girls’ team has enjoyed success, albeit in limited measures. The Iron Horse girls, under coach Dustin Williams, entered this week’s play with a 4-9 record. The Iron Horses are averaging 33.7 points a contest and are giving up 45.4 points per game.
The Iron Horse boys were searching for that elusive first win as they entered play this week. The Iron Horses were 0-11 and were averaging 38.3 points per game while giving up 73.5.
The state playoffs begin the week of Feb. 13 with Upper and Lower State championships set for Feb. 25. The state championships will be held March 1-2 at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia.