MYRTLE BEACH — Even though the Myrtle Beach Seahawks girls basketball team was eliminated from the championship bracket in the first round for the second consecutive year after suffering a 42-32 loss to Center Point (Ala.) on Tuesday, coach Jennifer Dennison believes her team has already gained much-needed experience just competing against the talent-laden teams in the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational.
“It wasn’t much of a difference than last year when we had better players,” she said. “We lost to them last year by 10 and we lost to them this year by 10.
“I learned a lot from this game,” Dennison added. “It helps us going into our region games come January. There’s nobody in our region better than the team we played today. We definitely competed.”
The first half was primarily a battle between the teams’ standout players.
Center Point’s Gabrielle Holston scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the first half as the Eagles led 18-17 despite getting just three points from second-leading scorer Jaylin Johnson. Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach’s Tanisha Brown countered with 11 of her 17 as no other Seahawk scored more than two points in the frame.
“They fought in the first half until the end,” Dennison said of her team. “We only had eight turnovers at halftime and the ones we picked up in the second half just didn’t help us.”
The Seahawks finished with 22 turnovers, which Dennison believes was the main issue in the loss.
“It’s simple,” Dennison said. “The turnovers hurt us.”
The Eagles started the second half on a 12-3 run with 10:15 left to play, and finished the second half outscoring the Seahawks 24-15.
“That’s what happens when you have young players and they turn the ball over,” Dennison said. “Turnovers are what killed us in the second half when they went on that big run.”
Myrtle Beach did not attempt at 3-point shot in the first half, and finished the game 2-for-8 from behind the arc.
Holston hit the team’s only two 3-point shots and finished with a game-high five steals to go along with her points.
“She’s a great player,” Dennison said. “She signed to Georgia Tech, which has great Division I players.
“But we matched up pretty well,” she added. “We had an eighth-grader on defense and a junior on defense but they tried and that’s all I can ask for.”
Brown finished with a double-double as she grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
“She had a good game today,” Dennison said. “She played tough, she was boxing out and she did a great job.”
Now that the Seahawks have been eliminated from the championship bracket, they have hopes of working their way through the consolation bracket.
“We’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing since day one,” Dennison said. “We’re going to take it one day at a time.
“We played a great team,” she added. “I’m glad to be in the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational; it’s a good learning experience for the young girls on my team.”
• CENTER POINT (42) – Dominique Patrick 13, Gabrielle Holston 19, Jaylin Johnson 5, Taliah Davis 1, Kenya Russell 2, Allison Boarden 2.
• MYRTLE BEACH (32) – Shavae Shaw 3, Nia Sumpter 3, Tanisha Brown 17, Nakia Black 7, Kiana Adderton 2.
• Halftime: Center Point 18-17. 3-point goals: Center Point 2 (Holston 2); Myrtle Beach (Sumpter, Black). Team fouls: Center Point 10, Myrtle Beach 12. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Center Point 10-3, Myrtle Beach 5-5.
Contact MAX McKINNON at 444-1767.