Brookland-Cayce Bearcats lost 3-0 to Wando in Saturday’s Nike Palmetto Cup championship game, but this week’s positive points outweighed the negative for the tournament hosts.
“We found ourselves in the final game today against the top team in the state, and, arguably, Wando is probably going to be one of the top teams in the national rankings this week,” Bearcats coach Kevin Heise said. “Who do we play the rest of the year that’s going to be as good as Wando?”
Undefeated Wando, coached by Shiloh Tisdale, delivered a poised performance in the final of the four-day tournament.
With a goal from Erik Clark, the Warriors got on the board 15 seconds before halftime. It was none too soon, Tisdale said.
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“It was really critical that we score right before half,” he said. “We knew that if we were able to put one away, it would settle us a little bit, and then especially after being able to make some adjustments at halftime, we felt like we were in good position.”
Heise said the Warriors’ first-half goal took the wind out of the Bearcats’ sails. But it was Wando’s depth that Brookland-Cayce was unable to overcome in the second half.
“We’re only so deep, and around that 50-60 minute mark, when they could just run guys in, we were just fatigued,” Heise said.
But the Bearcats played a valiant second half before giving up two goals in a 2-minute span around the 70 minute mark.
“We battled. We took the game to Wando for 40 to 45 minutes,” he said. “I thought we executed our game plan for 50 minutes or so, and it was a courageous effort from our guys.”
It was an exciting weekend for Brookland-Cayce, which had not reached the finals of its tournament since 1999.
And with the growth the Bearcats exhibited through the course of the tournament, Heise said they will return regular-season play with confidence.
The Bearcats (10-2, 3-1) face Airport on Tuesday in Region 5-3A play.
“It’s back to the grindstone come Monday,” Heise said.