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Fort Dorchester High School
North Charleston

By Roger Lee

 

North Charleston – The Fort Dorchester Boys Basketball team wrapped up its most successful season in years with an appearance in the third round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

The Patriots were eliminated with a 53-44 loss to visiting Dutch Fork Feb. 25. Fort Dorchester took a nine-point lead late in the third quarter. However, the Patriots turned the ball over too much in the final quarter and allowed the Silver Foxes to rally.

After the game, first-year Fort Dorchester Coach Thomas McElveen told his players to learn from the loss and use it for inspiration.

“I told our guys this season reminds me a lot of the 2014 season the Fort Dorchester football team had,” McElveen said. “That football team went all the way to Lower State and loss to Hillcrest late like we did tonight. Quarterback Dakereon Joyner vowed he would never let anyone celebrate on his field like that again so I told my players to have that same mentality.”

In 2015, Joyner led the Patriots to an undefeated season and the school’s first football state championship. While the Fort hoopsters didn’t have that kind of success on hardwood this season, you have to go back to 2009 to find a Patriots’ team that advanced further in the boys’ basketball playoffs.

Fort Dorchester finished the 2019-20 season with a 20-6 record and as the Region 8-AAAAA Co-champion. Ashley Ridge finished with the same region record to grab a piece of the region title, but since Fort Dorchester beat Ashley Ridge twice the Patriots earned the region’s top playoff seed.

Senior Antoine Parker led the way, averaging 14.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game on his way to earning a spot on the 5A All-state Team and all-region team. Sophomore Davion Joyner averaged 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while senior Jerald Howard averaged 6 points and 4.9 rebounds. Also among the team’s leading scorers were sophomore O’Marion Green (6.4 points per game), sophomore Demitris McKelvey (6.6 points per game) and senior Jamari Crawford (5.6 points per game). Howard and McKelvey were also named to the all-region team.

Other members of the team are Robert Pickering III, Rodriguez Simmons, Damari Joyner, Temple Simmons, Jhalen Brown, Sheldon Grant, Jameek Williams, Darius Johnson and Martez Johnson. The Patriots will lose nine players to graduation, but the group it stands to return next season is talented and received considerable varsity experience this season.

Lady Patriots

The Fort Dorchester Girls Basketball team lost a lot of close games late in the season and finished with an 11-11 record. The team had a 3-5 mark in Region 8-AAAAA, which was good enough for a tie for third place in the region. However, Stall beat out the Patriots for an at-large bid for the playoffs.

“I am very disappointed with the outcome of our season,” first-year Fort coach Javon Gilliard said. “Not making the playoffs is unacceptable. With that being said, we will revamp our roster with players who will be all in with the team vision. We are looking forward to the 2020-2021 basketball season.”

The Lady Patriots had some bright spots, but just weren’t consistent enough to achieve everything they set out to do. The team will lose Reanna Young, Taylor Bates, Daejera Graham and Monet Teal to graduation, but it stands to return several other varsity lettermen.

Junior Au’jea Bowman led the team in scoring and rebounds, averaging 19.9 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. Bowman, who averaged 3 blocks per game, received both all-state and all-region honors. Junior Ashleigh Goings averaged 9.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and a team-high 3.1 blocks per game and was also selected for the all-region team. Juniors Jordan Mapp and Amiya Ferrette saw significant time on the court this season.

Sophomores Anika Henneman, Jasmine Mitchell and Genesis Johnson, plus eighth-grade point guard Makenna Bines, gained varsity experience throughout the season and stand to play larger roles moving forward.

Fort grapplers

After finishing as the region runner-up, the Fort Dorchester Wrestling team advanced to the second round of the duals playoffs. The Patriots defeated Sumter 52-21 in the first round but were then eliminated with a 42-27 loss to Wando.

Fort Dorchester landed five grapplers on the all-region team - sophomores Matteo Vargo and Rayshawn Springs, juniors Chandler Amaker and Dylan Bancroft and senior Hunter Ellis. The Patriots also claimed two individual state wrestling titles.

Vargo won the 126-pound weight class during the South Carolina Class AAAAA individuals wrestling championships Feb. 28-29. He claimed an 11-1 major decision over Fort Mill’s Joshua Sturgeon in the finals.

Amaker won the 145-pound state championship. He earned a 3-1 decision over River Bluff’s Sam Emery in the finals.

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