Fort Dorchester captures region 8-AAAA title

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For the first time in six years, the Fort Dorchester boys basketball team is the best in Region 8-AAAA.

The Patriots completed a 7-1 run through Region 8 on Thursday night, beating rival Summerville, 60-50, to avenge their only loss of the conference season.

Fort Dorchester, 16-4 overall, clinches home-court advantage for at least two rounds of the upcoming AAAA Lower State playoffs, which begin next Wednesday. The Patriots would likely play Goose Creek or West Ashley in the opening round.

Senior forward Will Munoz and sophomore guard Kiyoun Reese each scored 14 points to lead the Patriots, while junior Mason Snype added 12 points.

“It’s nice to win the region again, it has been too long,” said Fort Dorchester coach Leon Wheaton. “This was a total team effort tonight. Everybody that played contributed in some way, whether it was scoring, rebounding or just playing good, solid defense. I am really proud of these guys.”

Fort Dorchester trailed for only about 15 seconds in the entire game, falling behind 2-0. Once the Patriots grabbed a 4-2 lead with 6:30 remaining in the opening quarter, they never looked back.

Fort Dorchester led, 9-8, after one period before a 9-2 run in the second pushed the lead to 25-16. The Patriots led, 27-19, at halftime, but Summerville quickly closed the gap to five. The Patriots responded with a 15-6 run to take a 44-30 lead with 1:23 left in the third.

Fort Dorchester’s largest lead was 17 at 55-38 with 3:50 remaining in the game. Summerville rallied late, cutting the lead to eight with 1:05 left, but could get no closer.

Even with a loss, Fort Dorchester would have likely won the three-way tie-breaker with Summerville and Bluffton, but Wheaton says he wanted his team to win the crown outright.

“I think playing our rival definitely helped us get focused and ready to play this game,” said Wheaton. “I told the guys before the game that we had a share of the title, but that we wanted it all. We did a good job of preparing and we played pretty well overall.”

Terrell Bowens led Summerville’s effort with 16 points, while eighth-grade forward Johnathan Bennett added 14 points.

Summerville finishes the regular season at 14-9 and will likely open the state playoffs at Wando next Wednesday.

Fort Dorchester – Will Munoz 14, Kiyoun Reese 14, Mason Snype 12, McFadden 8, Joyner 6, Hathaway 3, Simmons 2.

Summerville – Terrell Bowens 16, Johnathan Bennett 14, Devin Smith 11, Groome.