Will the Lady Bishops win another state basketball title?
At first glance, it seems that the Bishop England girls’ basketball team is having a ho-hum season if you glance at the headlines. But if you check out the fine print, the schedule and results, there’s a rhyme and reason for the Bishop’s 7-4 record as they begin Region 8-AAA play.
The Bishops, who entered the 2017-18 season with 151 victories in 165 games, are playing average ball, according to coach Paul Runey, who has led the team to four straight titles, and five in the last six years. But the Bishops’ losses have come against a who’s who of South Carolina heavyweights: Class AAAAA powers Wando and Goose Creek and SCISA powerhouse Northwood Academy. The other loss is to Class AAAAA contender Keenan.
“Right now, and I know this is a crazy way to put it, we’re not hitting on all cylinders,” Runey said. “Right now, we don’t have great basketball IQ. We need to step up. We’re not as sharp as we need to be.”
The Bishops have the biggest front line in Runey’s tenure at the school with players who measure at 5-10, 5-11 and 6 foot. He also has plenty of guards, but he’s still searching for that star in the backcourt.
“There’s a learning curve to some extent,” Runey said. “And, we’re showing improvement. We are getting better each time out.”
The Bishops had Friday’s region opener postponed by the inclement weather. They were scheduled to play Timberland in region play Tuesday and will face Porter-Gaud Saturday in the “Holy War.”
The Bishops figure to battle Manning for the top spot in the region, but anything can happen.
There have been some downs this season. And there have been some ups.
On the positive side, Runey is pleased with the play of Kelsey Bradshaw, a soccer standout who is in her first season. The senior plays guard and has potential, but is still shaking off some rust.
Another positive is the play of freshman Jayla Williams, who is learning the point guard position. Runey said she has plenty of potential, but is still learning the game.
“She has raw talent,” Runey said. “By her senior year, she’s going to be a good one.”
Hannah Burns is also a newcomer to the basketball team after shining on the volleyball court in the fall. She is providing quality minutes.
The Bishops, who are on one of the most successful state championship runs in state history, will make the playoffs. But the question is: Will the Bishops win another state title?
“Who we match up will be the key,” Runey said.
Dillon, ranked No. 6 in the state coaches association, presents the biggest challenge to the Bishops’ bid in the Lower State supremacy. The Bishops beat the Wildcats in last year’s Lower State championship, 38-27. This year, the two schools could meet as early as the second round.
“They were in the upper half of the (Lower State) bracket and we were in the lower bracket. This year, we will be in the same bracket.”