Cavaliers solid as region approaches

Nai'Ryan Bookert

Junior Nai’Ryan Bookert averages 19.7 points for the Cavaliers.

With a couple fortunate bounces here or there or a bit better effort and execution at times, the St. John’s Christian boys basketball team could have a record that really sparkles heading into the second half of the season.

Still, the mark is solid as region play heats up. The Cavaliers improved to 7-4 overall after coasting past the Lowcountry Wildcats, 83-57, on Jan. 4.

“We could be undefeated,” SJCA coach Drew Crowell said. “Sometimes we don’t put it all together for four quarters. We’ll play pretty good for one half or a quarter or four guys play great and the fifth one doesn’t engage. If you look back, there is some would’ve could’ve should’ve. We’ve got games where you look back and think what if we had played harder.”

The Cavaliers have lost three games to Palmetto Scholars – two by single digits – and another one, 68-65, in overtime at Faith Christian.

The start probably wasn’t helped by the fact football season ran into championship week and most of the depth being provided this season is from a group coming up from junior varsity.

The Cavaliers opened up 1-2 before winning six of their next eight games and have their sights set on a spot near the top of the region standings with defending state champion Clarendon Hall.

Juniors Nai’Ryan Bookert and Corey Moraux pace the Cavaliers in scoring. Bookert averages a team-high 19.7 points and Moraux adds 11.1 points a contest. Senior Evan Mizzell and junior Josh Legnard are on the cusp of double figures at 9.8 and 8.3 points.

“Bookert has been unstoppable,” Crowell said. “Everything is funneled through him. This year, more than ever, I’ve seen him where he’s like I’m taking over the game. He’s got a couple dunks and he can score at every level.”

On the other end, he’s guarded the “quickest kid on the court or a guy that has him by 100 pounds.”

Moraux is keeping a steady hand on the ball from the point guard spot and Mizzell gives the Cavaliers a consistent shooter from beyond the arc.

More consistent contributors to the scoreboard are senior Fletcher Law (7.1 ppg), sophomore Bryce Taylor (5.1 ppg), sophomore Matt Glover (4.2 ppg) and senior Rochard Tingue (4 ppg).

Crowell called Law the heart and soul of the team for his work on defense against all comers and said Tingue is “my hustle guy.”

“He’ll put his body out there and take a charge,” Crowell said. “He’ll do whatever it takes to make something happen.”

January games include Clarendon Hall (home, Jan. 10), Jefferson Davis (at, Jan. 14), Andrew Jackson (home, Jan. 17), Dorchester Academy (away, Jan. 21), Holly Hill (away, Jan. 24) and Patrick Henry (away, Jan. 31).

The Cavs play six games in Febuary before the playoffs open Feb. 21.

Crowell believes the Cavaliers are postseason material, especially when they’re all locked in.

“We’re at our best when we’re all engaged, when we’re all there and we’ve put all of our personal goals aside,” Crowell said. “You want your team to cheer for their teammates when they score. You want the team goal to be the most important.”