This has been one wacky season to say the least. With the uncertainty of games and matches looming during the winter sports season any competition you can be a part of is always a plus. Never take the day for granted because the luxuries of life are not always offered tomorrow. And in this case…hours.
The girls basketball team got off to a strong start by dominating Columbia High at the beginning of the season and going on a tear it’s first few games. Most of the girls season went unscathed from the covid bug with a few scares a long the way but were able to get most of their games in region play. However, it did not stop the covid but from having a wealth of talent compete on the floor as several girls decided not to play. This left her JV and Varsity programs with low numbers all year and eventually it caught up to them. After two losses to Westwood and Irmo the Lady Blue Devils were able to recover and beat AC Flora at home in overtime. That gave them a glimmer of hope as they would have to repeat that same feat that following Friday at Flora and again they came out in victory as time expired. Unfortunately though, with Westwood and Irmo continuing to take care of business it dropped the girls to third place. Just out of playoff reach in the new covid format playoff template. Typically the top 4 teams make the playoffs but the High School League decided to reduce that number this year for safety and protocol reasons.
Being in third does have some perks this year as the girls continue to practice for at least another 2 weeks just incase one of the top two teams comes down with a quarantine situation and the Lady Blue Devils would be ready for the call to replace them.
With such a wild and very unpredictable season the boys basketball team finds themselves in a very similar boat playing less games than the girls having to be quarantined twice during the season. It’s difficult to gain or sustain any momentum but this is what the season has become and you must adapt and overcome often times on the fly.
The boys basketball team has been fighting all year to get better and learn new schemes from a new coaching staff and new system. I would be remise to say they didn’t get better this year but things were extremely difficult in the repetition and momentum department.
The boys began the year facing Columbia High coming off a two quarantine and things didn’t go so well. It wasn’t the end of the world but it was not the type of start they were looking for before entering region play. As Dreher boys prepared to face off against Columbia High that Friday (teams had to play the same team twice in a week as not to cross contaminate communities if possible) the bus didn’t show up and there was no game to play. As if this season wasn’t already hectic and inconvenient enough. The following week their opponent Camden can’t be played because this time the boys are quarantined and no games to play during the Christmas Break with the advice from the district and high school league.
Coming back from quarantine and the holiday break finally the boys saw some action vs. Lugoff Elgin getting two wins back to back and then another quarantine and the Blue Devils are again at home working out virtually trying to stay in some shape. Upon the return two weeks later the boys get a win against Richland Northeast on a Tuesday and RNE goes on quarantine themselves for two weeks and the following opponent Flora is also on quarantine so there is no game to play for a week and half.
Practice, Practice, Practice is what the boys did to take advantage of the time. Finally they get their shot at Flora in a hard fought first half battle but Flora eventually imposed their will and came out on top. Following Flora’s game was Westwood at home and the boys lost a heart breaker. The only way to the playoffs is to beat Irmo Twice and Flora the following Monday. All hope was alive until a 1 point loss to Irmo ended their 2nd seed hopes of going to the playoffs. The boys will now play Westwood for 3rd place and much like the girls wait…and hope…that they’ll be called to replace a team for the playoffs.
WRESTLING TEAM MAKES PLAYOFFS
Not only did covid cause chaos on the hardwood but it was a nightmare for the wrestling team as they only had two matches before having to finally play in a region tournament. After a Saturday at Heathwood the boys had a great showing but corona was not nice to them either placing them on a two week quarantine. With wrestling being such a contact sport with little to no barriers in regards to equipment the wrestling team was finally able to get on a little role. Coming back January 9th they were able to defeat Hammond and fell just shy of beating River Bluff. Following a brief stint of layoff time due to other teams quarantine they were able to get one more warm up match before regionals on the 26th of January facing off against South Aiken and again Heathwood Hall in which they took care of business as they prepared for the Region tournament 4 days later.
Preparation and readiness was the key for Coach Sandifer as 8 wrestlers qualified for the AAAA Upper State Indys on 2/27 with W. Smolka, B. Harper, T. Mizzell, L. Wang, L. Hucks, J Smith, P. Valerio, and M. Hilton earning those honors. This wouldn’t be the end all for the wrestling team. Duals were next and the Blue Devils wanted more.
With the Duals held this past weekend it was a chance for the team itself to earn a spot in the playoffs. And in big fashion they did so beating AC Flora on the mats in a 51-27 match. With the next match win they could win the region title in a season filled with uncertainty Unfortunately things didn’t go our way and they loss to a very tough Lugoff Elgin squad but solidfied a 2nd seed in the AAAA dual tournament where they will head to Travelers Rest on Saturday 2/13 for the 1st.
A little pride, a little grip, and a ton of heart will go a long way and our wrestling team stood the test of times to earn their way to the playoffs. We call them the “Mat Devils.”