Lacrosse on the high school level continues to grow across the state with more schools adding the sport each spring.
Growth in the Lowcountry is somewhat slower than it has been in other areas of the state, yet the Lowcountry is home to many of the state's top teams.
The SCHSL state playoff tournament began Tuesday night with a handful of Lowcountry teams that could end up playing for state championships April 28th at Irmo High School.
On the girls' side, Bishop England is the Class AAAA defending state champion and is the top seed in the Lower State bracket. The Bishops (14-0) are a strong favorite to reach the finals again, led by senior Emma Pizzo, who leads the state in points (100) with 62 goals and 38 assists. But Pizzo has plenty of help.
Junior Ava Ward has tallied 62 goals, junior Grace Ann Carlson has 55, and junior Morgan Richards has scored 30 goals.
Oceanside Collegiate is the fifth seed in the Lower State and will be a factor in the playoffs. Junior Kasey Bronco leads the Landsharks with 57 goals scored this season.
Wando is seeded fifth in the Class AAAAA upper bracket and is the only other girls program involved in the postseason. The Warriors enter the playoffs with four losses, all to state title contenders. Wando lost by one goal to both Chapin and Bishop England, the top two teams in AAAA.
Senior Karly Ripple leads the team with 40 goals. Seniors Kelsey Leake and Wheaton Shipman also contribute as team leaders, along with sophomore DuPre Edens.
Wando and Bishop England are defending state championships in boys' lacrosse. Wando is the fourth seed in the upper bracket in Class AAAAA. The Warriors have four losses this spring but are 5-1 against in-state competition. Junior Tommy Marcoon has reached 30 goals for the second straight season. Nate Fasanaro, Luke Sutton and Jack Shipman also have at least 15 scores this season.
Bishop England (12-2) is the top-ranked team in the AAAA bracket. The Bishops are paced by senior Christian Greavu, who has 33 goals and 16 assists this season. Bryan Wain adds 31 goals and goalie Justin Counasse allows less than six goals per game.
Academic Magnet is the second-seeded team in the Lower State. The 10-3 Raptors are led by the scoring duo of sophomore Hampton Gehlken (58 goals) and senior Stephen Schlosser (30 goals).
Oceanside Collegiate, seeded fifth in the Lower State, is 9-2 and participating in the state playoffs for the first time as a program. The Landsharks are led by Riley Seay (41 goals) and Colin Reich (32 goals), who started for Wando last season.
James Island also is making its first-ever appearance in the playoffs and entered as the 16th-seed.
Nesmith receives another honor
Porter-Gaud senior basketball player Aaron Nesmith received another honor earlier this week. Nesmith, the S.C. Gatorade player of the year and Post and Courier All-Lowcountry player of the year, was named to the All-USA South Carolina all-state team by USA Today.
Nesmith joined Zion Williamson (Spartanburg Day), Alex Caldwell (Wilson), Jimmy Nichols (Conway) and Juwan Gary (Gray Collegiate) as first-team selections.
Porter-Gaud junior guard Josiah James was a second-team selection. James, who now has nearly 30 Division I scholarship offers, was recently offered by Stanford.
Hanahan-Bishop England showdown
The Region 7-AAA baseball title will be decided on Saturday afternoon as Hanahan and Bishop England break the tie after splitting their two regular-season meetings, both in extra innings.
The projected pitching matchup involves two of the state’s top junior left-handers — Mac Toman of Hanahan and Geoffrey Gilbert of Bishop England. Together, the pair has lost one game and both have earned run averages below one.