Say what you will for the state basketball rankings and their meaning.
Theres no debate for how important Myrtle Beach defeating No. 4 North Myrtle Beach on Friday could mean in the next few weeks. The Seahawks took care of business, winning 65-50 in impressive fashion.
Were not playing to the best of our ability yet, senior guard Soloman Cooper said. It makes it a lot easier. We have to win at home. Thats important.
The teams will meet again at North Myrtle Beach to close out the regular season on Feb. 13. That one could ultimately determine which team wins the region.
Based on Friday night, the Seahawks ranked No. 9 in Class AAA have the upper hand.
Craig Martins team connected on 20-of-22 free-throw attempts (compared to North Myrtle Beachs 15-of-25 showing) and started to use those to build and then maintain what was at most a 17-point second-half advantage.
Cooper, who was given the middle name Shaquille ONeal by an aunt, was 11-of-11 from the line. Thats something the more famous Shaq was anything but known for.
We spend a lot of time running and conditioning and shooting free throws, Martin said. Its starting to pay off.
Said Cooper: Thats what were supposed to do. If we miss free throws in practice, we run. A lot of noise doesnt bother us.
There was plenty of noise inside the Myrtle Beach gym for the rivalry game. And for as much as the Seahawks seemed to thrive under those conditions, it wasnt the same for Frank Moorheads Chiefs.
North Myrtle Beach finished the game having shot just 38 percent, and it was unable to get some of the 3-point shooting performances its had in winning 14 games so far.
It kind of got away from us, and it went from bad to worse, Moorhead said. We panicked a little bit.
Myrtle Beach (12-5 overall, 4-0 Region VII-AAA) turned a five-point halftime margin into a double-digit lead with a strong third quarter. Cooper and fellow guard Brooks Swanson then helped seal the victory in the fourth.
The two players were eight-of-nine from the line in the final period, accounting for all but three of the teams points.
The win moved Myrtle Beach into sole possession of first place in Region VII-AAA. It is the lone undefeated team in the division, one game ahead of North Myrtle Beach (14-4, 3-1) and Socastee, which improved to 3-1 with a win over St. James on Friday.
Martin, though, said his team will have to start concentrating on the next one quickly if it wants to retain its status at the top of the region.
We really need to move on, he said. Every game we play is the biggest game we play.
• NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (50) Josh Lindsey 5, Matt Lindsey 13, Matt Stanaland 17, Cameron Gore 2, Tyrique Robinson 2, Drew Dunn 11.
• MYRTLE BEACH (65) Graham Vaughn 2, Soloman Cooper 19, Brooks Swanson 16, Coleman Martini 5, William Gray 9, Anthony McNeil 8, Tyshame Lewis 2, Rivers Singleton 2, Drew Allan 2.
• 3-point goals: North Myrtle Beach 3 (Josh Lindsey, Matt Stanaland, Drew Dunn) Myrtle Beach 3 (Brooks Swanson 2, William Gray). Team fouls: NMB 18, MB 20. Fouled out: Graham Vaughn. Technical fouls: Drew Allan; Drew Dunn.
• Records: North Myrtle Beach 14-4, 3-1; Myrtle Beach 12-5, 4-0.
MB girls keep control of region race
The Myrtle Beach girls may not be blowing out opponents, but they has a firm grasp on the top of the Region VII-AAA standings nonetheless after two weeks of games.
The Seahawks remained perfect in region play, winning their fourth straight game with a 55-46 victory over North Myrtle Beach. The four region wins have come by an average of 7.5 points.
The Chiefs closed what had been a 13-point Myrtle Beach advantage to as low as four points late in the game. However, the Seahawks were productive enough down the stretch to move to 4-0 in the region and 8-8 overall.
Its the little things, turnovers and boxing out, Myrtle Beach coach Jennifer Dennison said of her team giving up what had been a considerable lead. When youre young, they are going to make mistakes.
The Seahawks young squad had some of those gaffes late. However, some solid post play also helped build the lead and then seal the victory.
Nia Sumpter led all scorers with 15 points, and Mya Pressley, who returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring a knee in mid-December, scored 13. Those two players were a combined 13-of-17 from the floor, with nearly all of their points coming from around the rim.
Nakia Black also finished in double figures for Myrtle Beach; she added 11 points. Kiana Adderton had 10 rebounds for the Seahawks. Marci Chestnut had a team-high 12 points for North Myrtle Beach.
With the win, the Seahawks now hold a two-game advantage in the standings, ahead of 2-2 teams North Myrtle Beach, Wilson and St. Socastee.
Its a big surprise, Dennison said. Were trying to keep our girls humble.
• NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (46) Ingrid Edge 9, Ronshelia DeWitt 6, Marci Chestnut 12, Aquera Johnson 6, Makala Gore 5, Rayni Johnson 4, Asia Duncan 4.
• MYRTLE BEACH (55) Keocia Walker 8, Nia Sumpter 15, Nakia Black 11, Kiana Adderton 8, Mya Pressley 13.
• 3-point goals: North Myrtle Beach None; Myrtle Beach 1 (Nakia Black). Team fouls: NMB 16, MB 18. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: North Myrtle Beach 9-8, 2-2 Region VII-AAA; Myrtle Beach 8-8, 4-0.
Contact IAN GUERIN at firstname.lastname@example.org.