Goose Creek girls in control of 7-AAAA

Goose Creek guard Mariah Linney (center) splits Wando defenders Claire McTighe (left) and Zeniyah Lawrence on the way to the basket on Tuesday.

Goose Creek took control of the region 7-AAAA title chase in girls basketball, knocking off Wando, 51-41, in a matchup of two teams that entered the game unbeaten in region play.

The Gators led the entire game, opening up a double-digit lead on a few occasions, but had to hold off a second-half charge from Wando to improve to 10-2 overall and 5-0 in region play.

Sophomore forward Ericka Broughton led all scorers with 12 points while also tallying 11 rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Bishop added 11 points for the winners.

Sophomore guard Clare McTighe paced Wando with 11 points and senior forward Ally Stasky added 10. Wando dropped to 13-5 overall and 4-1 in region play.

“I have to give Wando a lot of credit because I thought they played really hard,” said Goose Creek head coach Tim Baldwin. “I think getting the early lead helped us a lot, but Wando never stopped coming. I was proud of our girls for hanging in there, and we made a few more plays at the end. It was a good basketball game, as I expected it would be.”

Goose Creek jumped out to an 11-3 lead after one quarter and held a 24-14 lead until late in the second when Stasky buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to bring Wando to within seven.

The Warriors carried the momentum of Stasky’s shot and trimmed the Goose Creek lead to 27-23 during the third period, and Goose Creek held a 34-28 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Wando scored early in the fourth for a 34-30 Goose Creek lead, but the Warriors did not hit another field goal until the 1:23 mark of the quarter. Wando managed to stay close with free throws, but Goose Creek opened up a 46-35 lead with two minutes to play in the game.

Goose Creek missed four consecutive free throws in the final minute, but Wando could not take advantage.

“We struggle to shoot free throws for whatever reason and it almost came back to hurt us tonight,” said Baldwin. “We throw a party any time we shoot 70 percent from the line. We haven’t had many parties.”

Wando coach Mickey Hunter, while disappointed with the loss, says his team can build on the contest.

“We get them again at our place in the last game of the season, so if we can hold our own, maybe the game means something,” said Hunter. “I thought we played hard. We learned a lot about our team tonight. Goose Creek is the top dog in this region and they have been for a number of years. They will continue to be until someone beats them.”

Wando (41) — Clare McTighe 11, Ally Staskey 10, Smalls 8, Collins 6, Lawrence 6.

Goose Creek (51) — Ericka Broughton 12, Ryan Bishop 11, Linney 8, Simpson 9, Nelson 9, Wilson 2.