MURRELLS INLET — The rest of Region VII-AAA has to be feeling the Myrtle Beach girls basketball team was meant to win another title.
Just two days after the Seahawks beat Georgetown on a free throw with less than a second to play, coach Jennifer Dennison’s team won another close one, this time a 37-36 victory over St. James. Trailing by one with under 10 seconds to go, Seahawks guard Miangel Vaughn forced a turnover near the Myrtle Beach basket. Nakia Black picked it up and converted the wide-open lay-up with just seven seconds to play.
“I just wanted to make sure I made it,” Black said. “[Vaughn] played great defense. I just wanted to make sure it went in.”
St. James missed a last-second shot attempt that would have won the game, and Myrtle Beach clinched, at the very least, a share of the Region VII-AAA crown.
Kianna packaged her game-winning steal with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Black had 12 points for Myrtle Beach, which was playing without leading scorer Nia Sumpter.
The Myrtle Beach forward took a basketball to the head earlier in the day and was held out as a precaution, Dennison said. The Seahawks, as it turned out, got by without her, despite a slow start.
Myrtle Beach didn’t score until midway through the first quarter and trailed by as many as 14 points in the game.
“The only thing I asked them to do at halftime was play good defense,” Dennison said.
Behind by eight points to start the fourth quarter, Myrtle Beach prevented St. James from scoring for the first six minutes and 30 seconds of the fourth. The teams traded the lead twice in the final 90 seconds until Black’s lay-up won the game.
Myrtle Beach now just needs one victory or a Wilson loss to clinch the title outright. Those two teams will meet Monday. Dennison said it’s likely she’ll rest some of her starters for the last two games if the Seahawks defeat Wilson and earn the region crown.
Playing some back-ups would help make up for having to play six region games in the final two weeks.
“It gives us a lot of confidence going into the playoffs,” Black said of the team’s 7-0 run to start region play. “I definitely think we’ve earned it.”
Dennison again pointed back to some of the early season games Myrtle Beach was playing. The team came into the region schedule with a losing record.
The Seahawks haven’t lost since the first week of January.
“The difference is we played good team all year,” Dennison said. “We played close games all year. We don’t fold under pressure.”
Seahawks boys also stay undefeated
Myrtle Beach had already clinched a playoff spot.
Now the Seahawks know they’ll be at home for at least one game in a little over a week when the postseason begins.
Courtesy of Friday’s 63-39 victory over St. James, Myrtle Beach (16-5, 7-0 Region VII) is guaranteed to finish in the top two of the standings. The Seahawks still have three region games to go – including next week’s pivotal showdown at current second-place squad North Myrtle Beach. But the path toward winning the region and earning as many as three home postseason contests is working out in the Seahawks’ favor.
Myrtle Beach out-scored St. James (6-16, 1-7) 16-2 in the first 4:50 of the second quarter, opening up what had been a three-point lead to end the first. The run helped the state’s second-ranked team in Class AAA win its eighth straight game.
MYRTLE BEACH (37) – Ivy Collins 2, Miangel Vaughn 2, Nakia Black 12, Mia Pressley 6, Tatyanna Hollins 2, Kiana Adderton 13
ST. JAMES (36) – Kimmie Hotzelt 5, Anna Calvin 6, Kelsi Bachmann 9, Hannah Price 8, Bethany Goodrich 8.
• 3-point goals: Myrtle Beach none; St. James 2 (Price). Team fouls: MB 14; STJ 9. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Myrtle Beach 12-8, 7-0 Region VII-AAA; St. James 12-8, 3-5.
MYRTLE BEACH (63) – Anthony McNeil 10, Graham Vaughn 9, Soloman Cooper 8, Heath Gray 2, Rivers Singleton 3, Wesley Ford 5, Brooks Swanson 8, Drew Allan 8, Malik Waring 1, Will Gray 3, Kennis Jenkins 5, D.J. Cooper 1.
ST. JAMES (39) –Tyus Goodman 5, Zach Werba 10, Jacob Ziegler 8, Tristan Fields 2, Ethan Hollandsworth 2, Garrett Mullis 1, Dakota Holmes 10, Hunter Mullis 1.
• 3-point goals: Myrtle Beach 5 (Swanson 2, Singleton, Gray, Jenkins); St. James 6 (Zach Werba 3, Jacob Ziegler 2, Tyus Goodman). Team fouls: MB 17; STJ 17. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: Coleman Martini.
• Records: Myrtle Beach 16-5, 7-0 Region VII-AAA; St. James 6-16, 1-7
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com.