With all of his starters gone from last year’s Region 8-AAAA championship team, Summerville boys’ basketball coach Greg Elliott had no idea of what to expect this season.
The coach was certain his team would start slowly, and they did, opening the season with a 1-3 record. The Green Wave lost its season opener, 32-31, to Waccamaw, then suffered an 80-40 beating against Wando in its third game of the season.
“I think a lot of people thought was I was sandbagging and poor-mouthing when I told them I didn’t know if we would be any good,” Elliott said, laughing. “Then after those first few games in December, people probably started believing me.”
With a roster full of new varsity players, save three returners who saw very limited action last season, Elliott has slowly but surely blended together a team that is right back in the hunt for a region championship.
Summerville beat region leader Fort Dorchester, 66-52, last week to move to 3-1 in the region and 12-7 overall. The win was Summerville’s seventh in the last eight games and moved the Green Wave into a three-way tie for first with Fort Dorchester and Bluffton.
Summerville’s lone loss in region play was an 80-79 overtime decision to Bluffton in a game they led by 20 points in the fourth quarter.
“That’s the kind of thing that happens when you have a whole new group of kids, but it certainly was disappointing to lose that game,” said Elliott. “Even in that loss, I felt like we were playing pretty well, but as a coach, losing a 20-point lead really hurts for a few days. Fortunately, our kids didn’t let it affect them.”
Leading the way for Summerville this season are three varsity newcomers who have produced above and beyond expectations. Junior Terrelle Bowens, a 5-10 forward, is averaging 19 points per game, with games of 37 and 27 points to his credit. He scored 26 in the win over Fort Dorchester.
“He wasn’t eligible as a sophomore so we really kind of forgot about him,” says Elliott. “He really lacks experience but the kid can score the basketball. He has a lot of natural ability but he really hasn’t played organized basketball so he’s still learning the game.”
Junior Tru-Shaun Moorer is averaging 12 points per game, scoring 18 in the win over Fort Dorchester. Eighth-grader Johnathan Bennett, a 6-1 athlete, is averaging 10 points per game.
“Johnathan is one of the best athletes at Summerville,” said Elliott. “Those three are kids that we didn’t really expect to be here that have really stepped up. This a team full of new faces and new personalities. It took us some time to develop the chemistry, but we’ve come a long way.”
Elliott says junior Dewand Smith, a junior varsity player last season, has shown consistent improvement as the starting point guard.
Summerville is seeking a fifth region title under Elliott’s direction, but the coach realizes the road ahead is full of potential stumbling blocks. The Green Wave still has to play at Bluffton and at Fort Dorchester.
“It’s not over and we know that,” Elliott said. “I sure hope the loss at home to Bluffton doesn’t hurt us in the end, but we can help ourselves by going there and winning it. To be honest, I’m a little shocked that we are in this position, so my hope is that we just continue to build on it.”