After winning its first region championship, the boys basketball team at Charleston Charter School for Math and Science is looking for bigger and better things as the Class A state playoffs begin.
The Riptide won Region 6-A, edging out defending state champion Burke for the league crown. First-year coach Ryan Smith feels his team is capable of an extended run in the playoffs.
“We have been really tested a lot in some close games and that has helped this team mature together over the course of the season,” said Smith, who spent the last two seasons as the school’s junior varsity coach. “I think being able to win a lot of close games gives us confidence going into the playoffs but we know what’s at stake. One bad night and it could be over. If we are able to play the way we have during the regular season, I think we can compete with any team we play.”
The Riptide enter the playoffs after a 10-2 march through region play and with a 13-8 record overall. That slate included four wins by two points or less and four losses by four points or less, including a four-point loss to Bishop England and two-point losses to Pinewood Prep and Academic Magnet — all playoff teams.
Smith has four starting seniors this season and says his time spent on the junior varsity with several members of this year’s team made for a smooth transition.
“I think I coached all but one kid so we came into this season knowing each other pretty well,” he said. “We changed a little in terms of philosophy. We play a lot faster now and the change really seems to suit these guys. They’ve been a hard-working group.”
Offensively, the top scorers for the Riptide include senior Daiquan Bamberg (14.1 ppg) and junior Tawon Buie (13.6 ppg). Senior Tyrel Washington is a multi-faceted player, averaging about 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game.
Christian Duboise pulls down about 8.5 boards per game and Smith calls guard James Gethers “the glue that holds it all together.”
CMS opens the playoffs with a home game against Bamberg-Ehrhardt on Tuesday night.
Five players from Timberland’s girls basketball team will be forced to sit out the first-round playoff matchup with Waccamaw due to a fight that occurred during Friday night’s game with Andrews.
Both teams received multiple ejections during the melee that delayed the game for nearly 45 minutes. According to the South Carolina High School League, some of the five suspended players will be allowed to play in the second round if the Wolves win their first-round game.
Basketball playoff brackets for SCISA will be released later this week as teams wrap up regular-season play on Wednesday. Porter-Gaud’s boys team and Northwood Academy’s girls team are expected to be No. 1 seeds in their brackets. Charleston Collegiate’s boys’ team also will likely be a top seed in Class A.