It could’ve been any of them.
Bryan Grevey was asked to recall who scored a specific basket at a certain moment of a tight game from a few days prior. Bishop England’s coach scrolled through the possibilities in his head. There are, after all, seven Bishops averaging at least six points per game this season.
“The great thing about this team,” Grevey began. “The kids honestly don’t care who scores. All they care about is winning.”
Winning is all Bishop England has done this season. The unbeaten Bishops stretched their perfect streak through the holidays with a championship run in the Orangeburg County Sweet 16 tournament over the past week.
Bishop England won four games in five days to capture the tournament title. Two of the opponents were Class AAAAA schools; a third was AAAA. The Bishops, listed fourth in the Class AAA state rankings, have now won their first 12 straight games — the best start to any season in at least the past 42 years of Bishop England boys basketball.
“We’ve been playing well but we knew we had to be even better to win in this tournament,” Grevey said. “The kids really stepped up. Everyone had a hand in it. That’s why this team wins.”
The question posed to Grevey involved the closing moments of the Bishops’ 60-59 opening-round win over tournament host Orangeburg-Wilkinson last Thursday.
“Pat,” Grevey decided. “It had to be Pat.”
Bishops senior point guard Patrick Antonelli was named the tournament’s most valuable player after averaging 13 points and six assists through the four-game stretch. He scored a game-high 20 points on 4-of-6 shooting with seven assists against Orangeburg-Wilkinson. He closed the win with eight straight made free throws in the final two minutes.
He scored another 20 points, this time on 8-of-11 shooting with six assists, five rebounds and four steals in the Bishops’ 54-44 win over Class AAAAA No. 9 Fort Dorchester the following day.
Antonelli is responsible for initiating the Bishops’ offense. He quarterbacks the defense too, calling certain sets based on what he’s seeing on the floor. He’s flourished in this role, averaging a team-best 16 points, while also dishing out seven assists and grabbing four rebounds and four steals per game through the first half of the season.
“I’ve seen a lot of the best point guards in this area and, I’m telling you, Pat has to be considered with any of them,” Grevey said. “It sounds cliché but he truly is a coach on the floor. I’m just glad he’s on my team.”
As good as Antonelli was against Fort Dorchester, it was junior forward Daniel Brooks who led the Bishops in scoring with 22 points alongside eight rebounds. Brooks poured in another 22 with 10 boards in the Bishops’ 53-27 rout of Ridgeland-Hardeeville in the tournament title game on Monday. He finished the tournament averaging a team-best 17 points and eight rebounds to earn all-tournament honors.
Brooks put up about four points and four rebounds per game as a sophomore last season. He’s since grown into his 6-foot-6 frame, filled out some, and now seems to assert himself more confidently, averaging about 15 and eight this season.
“He’s demanding the ball now and finishing really well down low,” Grevey said. “He can be hard to stop in there. And when he’s playing as well as he has been, it really opens up the rest of the floor for us.”
Bishop England’s third tournament game — a 63-40 win over Cane Bay on Saturday — belonged to Aidan McCool. The Bishops’ senior wing poured in 25 points with five rebounds in the semifinal round. McCool, in some way, had a hand in every win, earning all-tournament honors by the end of it.
And that’s really the key for this Bishops team. Everyone contributes. Thirteen different Bishops saw the floor during the tournament. So recalling specific baskets isn't always so easy. Citing the outcome, though, requires a little less thought.
The point is, it doesn't matter who scored a specific basket. It only really matters who won the game. And, so far, every time the Bishops have taken the floor this season, they've walked off winners.