Lowcountry teams look like title contenders as basketball playoffs begin

Bishop England hopes to repeat as the Class AA state champion in girls basketball after winning the Region 6-AA title this season. Mark Morgan/Special to The Post and Courier/File

In a few weeks, focus on the local prep sports scene will turn to spring, but not before we wrap up the basketball and wrestling seasons.

The upcoming state playoffs in basketball will include several local teams, including a few that might be contenders to reach the state finals in their respective classifications.

The James Island boys won the Region 7-AAAA title and will enjoy at least two home games in the Class AAAA Lower State playoffs, which begin Wednesday. Defending state champion Wando, runner-up to James Island in their region, should again be considered a team strong enough to make another run to the finals.

Crowning a champion in Region 8-AAAA came down to the final day of play. Fort Dorchester and Summerville wrapped up the regular season on Thursday night with Fort Dorchester holding a one-game lead in the standings over Summerville and Bluffton.

In AAA boys, Berkeley is headed for the playoffs after a runner-up finish in Region 8-AAA. Hanahan and Stall are battling to sneak into the brackets. The AAA playoffs begin Tuesday.

In AA boys, Garrett Tech finished second in Region 6-AA with both losses in region play coming against region champion Battery Creek. Bishop England is hoping to land in the playoffs as well. The playoffs begin Wednesday.

Burke High will enter the state Class A playoffs as the Lower State favorite. The Bulldogs cruised to the Region 6-A title and will open their postseason run on Tuesday at home.

Look for Northwood Academy boys to make a strong run at the AAA title in SCISA. Cathedral Academy could be a major player in the Class A playoffs.

The Goose Creek girls captured the Region 7-AAAA title and will begin the playoffs at home on Tuesday night. Wando and West Ashley also secured state playoff berths out of 7-AAAA.

Summerville is the Region 8-AAAA champion and is capable of a deep run in the Lower State, having won 12 straight games. Ashley Ridge is battling Bluffton for second place in the region and will end up in the playoff bracket as well.

State power Orangeburg-Wilkinson won the Region 8-AAA title, but Stall should be a part of the Lower State bracket, which begins on Monday. A Friday night matchup between Hanahan and Berkeley may decide fourth place and a playoff spot.

Bishop England will get a chance to defend its AA state title after capturing the Region 6-AA title. Coach Paul Runey’s team struggled early but ends the regular season on a 13-game winning streak. The AA girls playoffs begin Tuesday night.

Academic Magnet also will be in the Lower State AA bracket out of 6-AA.

Cross carries a 10-game winning streak into the Class A girls playoffs, which begin on Monday. Cross won Region 6-A, surviving a competitive race with Baptist Hill and Charleston Math and Science.

Northwood Academy and First Baptist figure to be among the top contenders in SCISA AAA basketball, while St. John’s Christian girls are 16-3 and ranked third among SCISA Class A teams.

The state wrestling finals are this weekend in Columbia. Fort Dorchester will face defending state champion Rock Hill for the Class AAAA title at Dreher High School beginning at 3:30 p.m. The state individual Lower State wrestling tournament will be held next weekend at Sumter High School. Those who qualify advance to the state individual wrestling tournament in Anderson on Feb. 27-28.

Northwood Academy boys basketball coach Anthony Houston recorded his 300th career win with his team’s victory over Gray Collegiate of Columbia. Houston, now in his fifth season as the boys coach, also coached the Northwood girls team, winning a state title in 2003.

Cane Bay High School is hosting the Berkeley County baseball jamboree on Saturday. The event will include three varsity games as well as three junior varsity games on the campus’ two fields.

The scrimmages will consist of three innings or a one-hour time limit.

Stratford and Pinewood will meet at 11 a.m., followed by Goose Creek and Hanahan at noon. The final matchup of the day has Cane Bay playing Berkeley at 1 p.m.

The junior varsity schedule will be the same as the varsity schedule. Admission for the day is $5.