Sometimes, winning by nearly 40 points in the second round of the playoffs isn’t quite good enough.
Such is the case for two-time defending state champion Bishop England, who at this point in the postseason is less worried about the scoreboard and more concerned with 32 minutes of precise execution.
The Lady Bishops rolled past Waccamaw 68-31, on Friday to advance to their 10th straight Class AA Lower State semifinal game. But for head coach Paul Runey, the No. 1 ranked Bishops still have plenty left to iron out if they plan on defending the throne.
“It’s tough winning by that much and still not being satisfied with how you played,” Runey said. “Part of that is being a championship team and having those high expectations that you’ve set for yourself. It comes with it.”
Bishop England (23-2) played nearly flawless defense in the first half. Already leading by 12 points, the Bishops forced turnovers on 12 of Waccamaw’s first 13 possessions of the second quarter to take a 39-7 lead into halftime.
The Bishops alternated different forms of pressure throughout the night, finishing the game with 24 steals and limiting Waccamaw to 32 percent shooting.
“Sometimes they’re trapping. Sometimes they’re waiting and you end up turning it over anyway,” Waccamaw head coach Marion Busby said. “They mix it up so much, it’s tough. My girls were nervous all night.”
Waccamaw took advantage once Bishop England called off the pressure in the second half, opening the third quarter on an 8-4 run led by a six-point spurt from Samirah Murray. The Warriors junior scored 11 points in the second half while Jada Torrence added nine. Both finished with a team-high 13 points.
Bishops all-state senior point guard JoJo Tompkins countered with eight points in the third to help the Bishops regain firm control by quarter’s end.
Tompkins and all-state junior Rhetta Moore both finished with 10 points. Erin Rose scored 14 off the bench with 11 rebounds and four steals to lead Bishop England. The Bishops outrebounded Waccamaw 40-18 and received 29 points from its bench.
Bishop England advances to face Region 8 No. 2 seed Dillon in the third round Tuesday. Dillon upset No. 1 seeded Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 48-43, in the second round Friday.
“We’re fortunate to have players who can come in a play, in some instances, just as good as our starters. That makes a big difference,” Runey said. “This game wasn’t the prettiest on our behalf but we have a couple days to work on some things to get ready for the third round. And we better get ready because there’s some teams coming up that can keep us out of the fourth round.”