The Goose Creek High School girls basketball team opens the season with as fresh-faced a group coach Tim Baldwin has had in quite some time, if not ever.
Of the 13 players on the Gators' roster, three are eighth-graders and three more are freshmen. Another is a sophomore.
“We’re trying to figure it out,” Baldwin said. “It’s kind of like test driving.”
On Dec. 1, the youthful Gators hosted West Ashley as the curtains opened on the regular season. They survived the back-and-forth encounter in overtime, edging the visiting Wildcats, 56-53.
Goose Creek outscored the Wildcats, 8-5, in overtime to secure the victory. West Ashley missed a shot in the final seconds.
“We’ve got some young players,” Baldwin said. “Even our older players just lack game experience. We missed so many games last year (COVID-19) and couldn’t do anything the summer before, but I like this group. There is some talent. They just have to increase their basketball IQ and trust it.”
Three starters return from last year’s squad: senior guard Ravin Griffin, senior guard Samiya Grant and junior guard Kai McGee. Griffin and Grant averaged a fraction over 11 points and four boards per game in 2020-21 while McGee averaged 3.1 points and 2.5 assists. McGee is expected to return from an injury later this month.
Last season’s leading scorer, Sharriah Green, graduated early after averaging 14.3 points, 2.7 assists and 3.3 steals.
Against West Ashley, Grant led three Gators in double figures with 17 points and also set the pace in rebounding, assists and steals with four each. Eighth-grader Aiyanna Moses and Griffin added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Junior Jazzmyne Miller chipped in seven points for the Gators.
The Gators were coming off a 1-2 showing in a preseason tournament at Summerville, losing to Stall and Stratford while defeating Colleton County.
Baldwin said he's just looking for his team to improve as the season goes along.
“We’ll have to play good defense and shoot the ball well,” he said. “Every game is going to be a dog fight. We’re not just going to walk out and win. It’s how well these young kids can listen when they’re on the floor with the older kids and how well the older kids can guide them on the floor. I can’t be out there with them.”
In the boys' game, Elijah Dates poured in a team-high 20 points and Justin Britt added seven points as Goose Creek edged West Ashley, 52-41. Daunte Taylor and Brandon Burgess chipped in six points apiece for Goose Creek.