The Bishop England boys’ basketball team has spent limited time on the court so far during the 2020-21 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. You might have to wonder if the Battling Bishops will be more like the “Rusty Bishops.”
The Bishops owned a 4-1 record heading into Tuesday night’s Region 8-AAA opener against Battery Creek High.
“The last game we played, and we practiced a little over the break, was, I believe, Dec. 4,” coach Bryan Grevey said.
That’s the night that the Bishops picked up a 44-30 victory over Burke. Since then, the Bishops have only practiced and that’s been on a limited basis. Bishop England closely follows the guidelines that Charleston County School District implements for sports. Last week, the district allowed varsity teams to practice beginning Jan. 4. But the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston didn’t give the green light to practice until Jan. 8.
“We just have to see how this team transitions,” Grevey said. “We’re not going to make excuses. We just have to be ready when we play. Every school is dealing with this in its own way. We’ve all had to deal with it, we all have had to adjust.
“We prepared but we couldn’t play,” Grevey continued. “But no one cares if you’ve practiced three, four or five times. You just have to be ready when the school gives you the green light to play. You can’t feel sorry for yourself, because it’s something everyone has had to deal with.
The goal for Region 8-AAA is to play a 10-game conference schedule with the top two teams advancing to the state playoffs. But that might be difficult. The Bishops conference game against North Charleston is on hold because the Charleston County School District hasn’t given schools the OK to resume playing games.
If game postponements continue, Region 8-AAA might adopt a Monday-Wednesday-Friday game schedule. Grevey said his players would love that scenario.
“The kids would much rather play three games a week than practice with me,” Grevey said. “You are not asking too much from the kids to play three games in a week. In some of these summer leagues, they play three games a day.”
He also says the possibility of playing three games a week means players won’t have much time to be down on themselves after a loss or have much time to gloat after a win.
“The goal is to have everybody play 10 region games,” Grevey said. “It short circuited once, and it could happen again. But the goal is to play 10 games.”
The team's only loss of the season was to SCISA state power Cardinal Newman of Columbia in the Bishops' preseason tournament. The Cardinals feature some Division I prospects, but didn’t pull away until late in the game.
The team’s signature win just might be the 46-44 victory over a talented James Island team.
The boys’ state playoffs are scheduled to begin Feb. 16, with the Weekend of Champions slated for March 5-6 at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia.