While other teams may challenge, Goose Creek girls basketball continues to stand tall atop Region 7-AAAA.
Goose Creek defeated Wando, 53-35, Tuesday in a showdown of the top two teams in the conference.
Both teams entered undefeated in region play with four lopsided wins. But there can be only one at the top, and in the end the two-time defending conference champion Gators ran away with their 25th straight region win, adding to a streak that dates back to January 2013.
Goose Creek (15-2, 5-0) now holds a one-game lead over Wando (11-7, 4-1) for first place in Region 7 with five games left to play.
“It was an important win for us,” Goose Creek head coach Tim Baldwin said. “You have to be ready for your competition in your region and us both being 4-0, both playing good basketball, I was very pleased with the effort we showed.”
Wando trailed by five at the end of the first quarter and cut the deficit to three early in the second before Goose Creek ramped up its defensive pressure. The Gators’ full-court press sparked a 17-0 run that lasted more than four minutes.
Gators junior guard Mariah Linney powered the rally with 11 points off three 3-pointers to shoot Goose Creek to a 32-10 halftime advantage. Linney finished with a game-high 16 points.
“We got warmed up,” Baldwin said. “We came in here with a more relaxed state. I was wondering if that was a good thing or bad thing. But once we got in the flow of the game, saw what they were trying to do, we made adjustments and went from there.”
Goose Creek held Wando without a made field goal more than six minutes into the third quarter, opening a lead as large as 29 by the final minute.
Shayla Nelson finished with nine points, while Zeleria Simpons and Ericka Broughton both scored eight for Goose Creek.
Wando was without leading scorer Skylar Blackstock, who was sidelined with an ankle injury. Clare McTighe led the Warriors with 13 points and Ericka Wiseley added seven.
Goose Creek, featuring nine returning players from last year’s Lower State championship team, has defeated its first five region opponents by an average of 35 points per game.
The two teams will meet again in their regular-season finale Feb. 2 in Goose Creek.