The Bishop England boys and girls both picked up first-round victories in their Class AAA state basketball playoff paths.
The teams took different routes to achieve victories.
The Bishop England boys struggled against Waccamaw, a team that traditionally gives the Bishops a close encounter. That was the case Saturday night when the Bishops posted a 54-51 first-round victory at Father O’Brien Gymnasium.
The girls team, meanwhile, played with heavy hearts in a 76-24 first-round victory over Waccamaw. Coach Paul Runey missed the game because his wife, Patty, passed away.
The Bishop boys upped their record to 10-1 in the battle against Waccamaw. The Bishops advanced to the second round, and were scheduled to host Marlboro County on Wednesday.
“I can’t say I expected it to be this close,” said BE coach Bryan Grevey, who owns a 36-4 record the past two seasons. “History would indicate we always have a tough game when we play Waccamaw. They are very well coached and don’t beat themselves. They are pesky, hard-nosed and well-coached.”
That’s also a description that fits Grevey’s team. The Bishops pulled out to leads of eight, nine and 10 points, but the Warriors always rallied. The Bishops gutted it out, and that’s all that matters in the postseason.
The Bishops led by five points at the end of the first quarter, but the visitors battled back to cut BE’s lead to 25-22 at halftime. The Bishops led 44-38 after three stops.
Ty Schaafsma led the Bishops with 22 points while big man Daniel Brooks collected 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Grevey knows that the tournament trail will include numerous close encounters, especially because the High School League cut the playoff field from 32 to 16 teams because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s all No. 1 and No. 2 seeds,” Grevey said. “Every night, you are going to play a good team. If you are not ready to play, you will be sitting at home.”
That’s something the Bishops definitely don’t want to do. The idle time, caused by the pandemic, could have cost the Bishops against the Warriors.
“I’m not making excuses, but that was the first game we played in 22 days,” Grevey said. “Sure, we practiced, but we didn’t have game conditions – like a clock or fans. When you go that long without playing a game, you are rusty. And, you don’t know what team will show up.”
The Bishop England girls, meanwhile, posted their 10th victory of the season against one loss in the opening-round win against the Warriors.
The Bishops scored 30 points in the first quarter, six points more than Waccamaw scored the entire game. The Bishops led 53-9 at halftime.
Senior Lily Woods led the Bishops with 25 points and was one of four Bishops who scored in double figures.
Jiaha Williams added 12 points, Princess Scott had 11 and Ella Scharr with 10.
The Bishops were scheduled to host Camden at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the second round of the playoffs.