CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - 2019 was another amazing year in sports in the Lowcountry. Over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we’ll take a look back at the biggest moments of the year.
#10. Madison Keys wins Volvo Car Open - Madison Keys has been one of the most popular players on Daniel Island over the years playing in the Volvo Car Open, back in April, in her 7th time playing in the event, Keys finally broke through and won her first title in the Lowcountry. She would defeat former champion Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets in the finals to hoist that trophy, her 4th career singles title. “It means so much" Keys said. "I’ve always loved Charleston, it’s always been one of my favorite touranments. So to now be able to say I won the tournament and be on the trophy is really really special”
#9. Goose Creek girls basketball wins state title - The Gators were down by 8 with just over 2 minutes to go in the state title game against Spring Valley in Columbia but they would fight all the way back and Mary Davis would hit 2 free throws with under 10 seconds to go to put Goose Creek in front for good. The Gators would come back to the Lowcountry with the championship after a 52-51 win “That’s what high school athletics are about" said Gators head coach Tim Baldwin. "it’s about the big game and kids making these plays when they have to, which she did. Nya hits a big three, we get some stops, just hear the kids talk and get on the floor, it’s awesome.”
#8. Bishop England wins 3rd straight baseball state title - The Bishop England baseball team completed one of the best runs in Lowcountry history winning their 3rd straight 3-A state title back in May beating Cresent with a walk-off walk in the deciding game 3. Clemson signee Geoffrey Gilbert was brilliant all season on the mound but it was his work at the plate that did it in this game. He’d have an RBI in the 6th and drew the bases-loaded walk in the 7th to help BE come back from down 3-1 in the next to last inning. “We had a lot of fight, we had a lot of not give up and it shows." Bishops head coach Mike Darnell said. "We found a way and that’s all that matters. There’s a horseshoe somewhere, I don’t know where it is but when we find it, I’m gonna keep it and maybe bet the house.”
#7. The Stingrays fire Spiros Anastas - The Stingrays have had a history of head coaches staying for a while until they move up in the hockey world but that did not happen this season, as Spiros Anastas, who was the first head coach in decades who was hired without already being a part of the organization, was fired after just 1 season in the Lowcountry. Anastas’ team struggled to make the playoffs not getting in until the final days of the regular season before being eliminated in 5 games in the first round. He was replaced by long-time assistant Steve Bergin.
#6. Lee6 wins US Women’s Open at Country Club of Charleston - The 1st women’s golf major to be held in the Lowcountry ended with 23-year-old Jeongeun Lee6 from South Korea winning her first major championship at the US Women’s Open held at the Country Club of Charleston. Lee 6 would finish the tournament at 6 under par to win the first million-dollar paycheck for a women’s tournament in history. “I didn’t even think about winning a major championship and it’s very honorable playing in this US Women’s open and I’m very excited about this” Lee6 would say through an interpreter.
#5. Clemson beats South Carolina in the Palmetto Bowl...again - For the 6th straight year, the Tigers defeated South Carolina in the matchup of the states 2 biggest football teams and once again this season, it wasn’t close. Trevor Lawrence threw 3 touchdown passes in the first half and Travis Etienne found the end zone twice in the 2nd half to lead Clemson to a 38-3 win over the Gamecocks. “really proud of our team, this is an important game to everyone in the state.” Dabo Swinney said. His club can tie the longest winning streak in the history of the series with a victory in 2020.
#4. Sertoma Classic ends - The ending of an institution in Lowcountry high school football. The Sertoma Classic canceled the 2019 event back in April and said it probably won’t continue going forward. For 48 years, teams from around the area would face off in 1 and 2 quarter scrimmages at Johnson Hagood Stadium as a warm-up for the season but with crowds dwindling over the years, the Sertoma Club announced they didn’t have enough members to put on the event this year.
#3. The Battery play final game at Stadium, get sold - Back in May, MUSC Health Stadium was surprisingly sold to a property company for almost 6.5 million dollars bringing an end to the franchises 20 year run on Daniel Island. The Battery would close the stadium with a 5-1 win over Bethlehem Steele in October. “right now I’m starting to realize that walking off the field for the last time." Head Coach Mike Anhaueser said after the win. "It’s depressing for me for that. Then I looked up there and I told the guys, we’re gonna make a statement and something that it goes down in history and if it is the last game here, that’s what you’re gonna remember.” Shortly after the end of the season, the team would be sold to Rob Salvatore and set up an agreement to play at CofC’s field at Patriots Point
#2. John McKissick passes away - On Thanksgiving day, former Summerville football coach John McKissick passed away at the age of 92. He spent more than 6 decades coaching the Green Wave and still has the most wins at any level of organized football. Hundreds came out to say goodbye to McKissick the following week including politicians, fellow coaches, and former players. “You look around the room, and they asked his boys to stand up and dozens stood up. They stand up proud and they stand up tall because of what he’s done for them as a coach as a mentor and I think that shows in the lives they lead as well.” said Representative Joe Cunningham
#1. Clemson wins 2nd National Championship in 3 years - Back in January, Dabo Swinney’s club dominated Alabama in the National Championship in Santa Clara to win the 3rd title in program history. Trevor Lawrence, who took over as the starting quarterback midway through the season, looked like a polished veteran in the title game throwing for 3 touchdowns in a 44-16 victory that helped Clemson finish a perfect 15-0.