Three-peat: BE girls with third consecutive state hoops title!
The Bishop England High School girls’ basketball team seized its third consecutive Class AA state championship, and now it was time to savor the moment.
“It’s a great feeling for them,” said coach Paul Runey after his squad topped Keenan 53-37 Saturday afternoon at the Colonial Life Arena. “I’m happy for the school and I’m happy for these kids.”
The Bishops became only the third Class AA team in South Carolina High School League history to win three straight state titles, and only the second team to win four titles in five years. Keenan was the only team to deny Bishop England a title during the Bishops’ remarkable run of success. Keenan topped the Bishops in the 2013 title game. Saturday, the Bishops gained a degree of revenge and their 127th win in their last 138 games. That’s a .920 winning percentage.
“When you sit back (and reflect on it) later, it will mean something,” Runey said. “You’ll look at it and see what we accomplish and realize the hard work paid off.”
But change is on the way, and if you are a Bishops’ booster, it might be asking too much if you expect the Bishops to continue winning at such a blistering pace.
First, the competition should be tougher when the Bishops move up to Class AAA for the 2016-17 academic year. The Bishops’ region foes next year will include Hanahan, Lake Marion, Manning and Timberland.
Everything will be all new,” Runey conceded. “A new classification, new region opponents and a new roster. Next year’s team will be a lot different and so will the competition. I don’t think we have lost a region game in the last six years.”
The Bishops were able to handle Keenan despite a noted height disadvantage. Keenan center Le-on Hill blocked 20 shots in last weekend’s Upper State championship game against Newberry. She blocked five shots against Bishop England. Three of her rejects came in the first three minutes of the championship game. Keenan took a 7-0 lead, but the Bishops calmed their nerves thanks to Hannah Corbett’s three 3-point goals in the first half.
“I think that helped us relax,” Runey said. “We have been there before, but you are going to have a case of the nerves. These are high school players.
“They took us out of our gameplan and we took them out of their gameplan,” Runey added. “It was a game where you tried to figure out the other team and they tried to figure you out.”
Jo Jo Tompkins finished with a team-high 12 points and seven assists in her final game as a Bishop. Rhetta Moore and Corbett both added nine, and Caroline McQueeney and Erin Rose both tallied seven points. Nine players entered the scoring column for the Bishops.
The Bishops have six seniors on the roster and four made significant contributions. So the faces and chemistry will be different next winter. The good news is four underclassmen made significant contributions.