LITTLE RIVER — Youth is something that can usually be a disadvantage for a team.
For Goose Creek that wasn’t the case Saturday night as it pulled out a 44-43 win over North Myrtle Beach in the Shootout by the Sea girls championship game.
Eighth-grader Ericka Broughton hit a layup and got fouled with 2.9 seconds. Her layup tied the game at 43. With the crowd yelling and banging on the bleachers, Broughton calmly stepped to the line and hit the free throw for the win.
“The biggest thing was the atmosphere was crazy,” Gators coach Tim Baldwin said. “I told our kids, ‘You got to stay under control and make plays. It’s going to come down to line and make free throws here and there.’ I’ve preached all year long free throws are going to make you or break you.”
Leading up to Broughton’s winner, Goose Creek had to continually battle back. Down 41-37 with a , the Gators turned up the defense and tied the game with 10.8 seconds left on Ashley Fields’ layup and free throw. Fields finished the game with 23 points and was named tournament most valuable player.
India Farmer reclaimed the lead for North Myrtle Beach when she got fouled and hit a pair of free throws with 9 seconds left. Farmer finished the game with 15 points and Taylor Allman led the team with 17. Farmer and Allman were both named to the all-tournament team.
The loss was a tough one for the Chiefs as it is their first, but also because they led by six points with 2:20 left in the game.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” North Myrtle Beach coach Jude Hunt said. “I told the girls, ‘The fact it is a tough one to swallow means we did some things right.’ We were in a good competitive game with a really good team. There are some positives there that we got to look at and we got to walk away with that attitude.”
• GOOSE CREEK (44) – Ashley Fields 23, Alex Ludwig 8, Jalvin Jones 1, Ericka Broughton 5, Sahara Pringle 7.
• NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (43) – Sarah McCloskey 2, Ja’Quella Livingston 2, Marci Chestnut 5, Taylor Allman 17, India Farmer 15, Taylor White 2.
• Halftime: Goose Creek 21-17. 3-point field goals: Goose Creek 4 (Ludwig 2, Pringle 2); North Myrtle Beach 2 (Allman 2). Team Fouls: Goose Creek 15; North Myrtle Beach 9. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.
• Records: Goose Creek 10-0; North Myrtle Beach 9-1.