Thursday, December 12, 2013
Lowcountry bragging rights are on the line for the Bishop England Battling Bishops and the Wando Warriors in the first installment of the 2014 Battle of the Wando River Saturday on Daniel Island.
Wando (5-0) will likely enter the weekend undefeated while Bishop England (3-2) is riding a two-game winning streak.
Warriors head coach David Eaton has yet to lose to the cross-river rival in his six years with Wando but says his team never enters the matchup looking for an easy win.
“We always expect a really tough matchup anytime we play them,” Eaton said. “They’re a well-coached team that is always going to play really hard. If we don’t match their intensity and how hard they go every play, we’re going to be in for a really tough night.”
The Bishops are led by junior guard B.J. Grevey who’s averaging 18 points, six rebounds and two steals through five games this season. Grevey poses a difficult matchup for most guards at 6-foot-4. He’s tough at the rim and can shoot the deep ball over most defenders.
“He has to be a big focus for our defense,” Eaton said. “He can score in several different ways. They do a good job of getting him the ball. You have to watch him.”
Senior guard Dillon Corbett leads the Bishops in rebounding, grabbing more than six per game and is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12 points per. At 6-foot-3, Corbett relies on his technique in the post and a quick first step past most defenders.
Taylor Howell and Reed Fosberry both can give opposing offenses trouble. Together the two quick guards average more than five steals per game. Bishop England is averaging 64 points per contest while allowing just 49. They’ve won their last two games by a combined 140-92.
Wando presents the toughest challenge for the Bishops this season, averaging 66 points per game while giving up just 45. The Warriors have already knocked off Class 4A preseason No. 7 Summerville and won the Military Magnet Thanksgiving Classic with a 57-50 win over Pinewood Prep, who beat the Bishops, 52-37, in the same tourney.
“They’re an athletic team that’s playing really well right now,” Bishop England head coach Bryan Grevey said. “You have to try to limit the mistakes against a team like that, play good defense and make the hustle plays.”
Sophomore forward Jamez Rogers has led the Warriors offense this season, averaging a team-high 17 points per game. Rogers is a 6-foot-5 forward with a good jumper. He claimed MVP honors at the Military Magnet tournament.
Inside for Wando, 6-foot-10 center Matthew Pegram has been a force at times this season. Pegram is averaging 12 points, 8 rebounds and has shown the ability to take over games late. He’ll likely matchup with 6-foot-6 center Ben Carico, the Bishops’ tallest player. What he lacks in height, Carico can make up with his strength. The Bishops haven’t faced a center this season strong enough to push Carico around in the post.
Andrew Glover and Taylor Majeweski are two more difference makers for the Warriors offense. Both are natural scorers with a good stroke from three who need just a slight look to heat up and shoot an opponent out of a game.
Both coaches field deep teams of 14 or more and have had opportunities to empty out their bench this season for significant minutes.
“It always seems like their bench impacts these games,” Eaton said. “There are always one or two guys who aren’t starters for them but are big different makers. The fact that we’ve been able to play all our guys is important because they have that confidence now when we need them to come in.”
The two schools separated by fewer than 15 miles and in years past, even less. Most of the players and fans have grown up with each other, watching the matchup over the years and playing against one another in pickup games and AAU basketball. Both coaches expect the energy to be high throughout the gym until the final buzzer.
“It’s a tough game, an emotional game, a rivalry game,” Coach Grevey said. “It’s one of those games where they’re going to be jacked up, we’re going to be jacked up and the fans will be behind both teams all night.”
“It’s a really big rivalry because of how familiar they all are with each other,” Eaton added. “It’s a game you have to go out and prove yourself. It’s Saturday night basketball.”
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Bishop England High School.