Ranking the Lowcountry’s high school basketball teams

Wando basketball fans have plenty to cheer about again this season. After winning the Class AAAA boys state title a year ago, the Warriors remain the team to beat in the Lowcountry. Gwinn Davis/Special to The Post and Courier

Now that region play has begun in earnest across the Lowcountry, it seems like a good time to rank the area’s top 10 teams in boys and girls basketball.

There is a clear-cut No. 1 boys team — defending state champion Wando. The Warriors have yet to lose to an area team this season and it’s a safe bet they may win out during the regular season.

Fort Dorchester (9-3), Northwood (11-7) and Porter-Gaud (14-2) are off to great starts as well and fill in spots two, three and four, respectively. Porter-Gaud’s two losses came to Northwood and Fort Dorchester.

In the next tier of top teams, James Island and Summerville appear to be putting together solid teams as region play begins. Goose Creek, Berkeley, Hanahan and Stall round out the top 10.

Goose Creek is the top-ranked girls team but the list of potential top teams is fairly long. Northwood, Summerville, and Wando all have quality teams that should fare well down the stretch.

James Island (10-2) and Ashley Ridge (9-1) have to prove they can beat quality teams at their level, which they will have an opportunity to do in region play.

West Ashley, Porter-Gaud, Bishop England and Academic Magnet round out the top 10.

The rankings:

Boys Top 10

1. Wando

2. Fort Dorchester

3. Northwood

4. Porter-Gaud

5. James Island

6. Summerville

7. Goose Creek

8. Berkeley

9. Hanahan

10. Stall

Girls Top 10

1. Goose Creek

2. Northwood

3. Summerville

4. Wando

5. James Island

6. Ashley Ridge

7. West Ashley

8. Bishop England

9. Porter-Gaud

10. Academic Magnet

One of the hottest topics of conversation, not only in the Lowcountry but across the state as well, centers on who will be the next head football coach at Goose Creek High School.

Chuck Reedy stepped down from the post last week, leaving as the school’s most successful coach in history. Now, as they say, the fun begins.

The opening is certain to draw heavy interest from coaches at all levels of football. The position is posted on the Berkeley County School District website with a Jan. 30 deadline. At that point, Goose Creek principal Jimmy Huskey will receive a packet of every applicant and will begin the process of narrowing the pool of candidates. Huskey will be assisted by a committee that he will appoint, but the final hiring decision rests with Huskey.

Conventional wisdom is that the new coach will come from within the current football staff. It is believed that at least four assistants on Reedy’s staff will apply for the position, with current defensive coordinator Chris Candor being the leading candidate.

Timberland head coach Art Craig is the likely top candidate from outside the staff. Craig’s Wolves just completed a 14-0 state championship season, the school’s second title in five years. Timberland is the area’s winningest program over the last 11 years and Craig is 147-33 since 2001 at the school. Sources close to Craig have indicated that he has not applied for the position as of Tuesday.

Craig may be hesitant to leave one of the top programs in Class AA football. With 15 starters returning next season, the Wolves will enter 2015 as a strong title contender once again.

It is rumored that former Virginia Tech assistant and Louisiana Lafayette head coach Ricky Bustle, currently the offensive coordinator at North Carolina A&T, has applied. Bustle, 61, is a native of Summerville where he played quarterback for John McKissick.