Da’Shaun Aiken’s season hasn’t been perfect.
He’s suffered through a groin injury that sidelined him for a handful of games and kept him at less than 100 percent for others.
Still, the senior proved to be a crucial part of a Carvers Bay team with high postseason expectations.
Aiken was named the Class A All-State Player of the Year, announced Wednesday by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association. He is one of eight Grand Strand seniors to be named to the All-State rosters.
Joining him on the boys lists were Conway’s Reggie Bonner, Myrtle Beach’s Nolin Butler and Jaquan Grissett at North Myrtle Beach.
Girls players included Marisa Runyon (Carolina Forest), Myrtle Beach guard Tanisha Brown and the North Myrtle Beach tandem of Taylor Allman and India Farmer.
As for Aiken, he’s the first Class A Player of the Year from Carvers Bay. But the three-sport star isn’t done with this one just yet. The Bears will face Military Magnet in the second round of the playoffs Friday.
“There is not one spotlight on the team. It’s not just me,” Aiken said. “The whole team has a spotlight on them. We can make it. If everyone listens to [coach Jeff Mezzatesta], we can make it.”
Carvers Bay has home-court advantage – should it continue to win – up until the Lower State finals next week. And in many ways, Aiken has been Mezzatesta’s focal point to getting their.
The senior missed those games earlier in the year, and he was held out of last Thursday’s regular-season finale since it didn’t affect playoff seeding.
It’s a give-and-take Mezzatesta has to apply with Aiken, who has been in varsity football, basketball and track since he was a freshman.
“That’s amazing about Da’Shaun. Because he’s a multi-sport athlete, he’s never had an opportunity to [fully recover],” Mezzatesta said. “What would happen if Da’Shaun Aiken focused solely on football or only on basketball or only on track?
“He’s not scared to work.”
Aiken is averaging 17.1 points and four rebounds per game this season. He topped the 30-point mark twice, and a couple weeks ago he broke former teammate Teondre Bromell’s all-time school scoring record.
The other seven on the list also put up big-time points, some for extended periods of time.
All three North Myrtle Beach players – Grissett, Allman and Farmer – topped the 1,000-point plateaus this season and helped their teams to top seeds in the Class AAA state playoffs.
Likewise, Myrtle Beach’s Brown also reached 1,000 points for her Myrtle Beach career this season. Brown missed almost the entire region slate a year ago after suffering a knee injury. She bounced back and has already accumulated 12 double-doubles and two triple-doubles this season. One of the latter came during Monday’s home playoff victory over Hartsville.
Butler emerged this season as one of the state’s best guards. He’s averaging better than 13 points, two rebounds and two steals per game, all while keeping his turnover rate extremely low.
Bonner is the first Conway player to be named to the All-State team since 2001-2002, when Tim Jennings was named to the squad. Before that, it was Andrew Cooke in 1993-1994.
Runyon continued her streak of strong individual performances in two sports. The University of Alabama softball signee was named to the All-State team in that sport last year. This season on the court, she topped the 1,000-point scoring mark and was named the Region VI-AAAA player of the year.
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com.