LITTLE RIVER — Two meetings between the two best boys basketball teams on the Grand Strand may not be enough.
North Myrtle Beach’s 55-52 victory over Myrtle Beach on Saturday earned the Chiefs at least a share of the Region VII-AAA crown. But this region is anywhere but decided.
If the Seahawks are able to beat Georgetown on Monday at home, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach will meet again Tuesday at a neutral site. The winner of that game would then earn the region’s top seed and up to three home games for the Class AAA playoffs.
That’s all the case because of some clutch fourth-quarter play from a handful of Chiefs.
“We kept our composure a little better than we have in the past,” Chiefs coach Frank Moorhead said. “That was the big thing, matching their intensity.”
There was plenty of that to go around between the Seahawks, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, and No. 6 North Myrtle Beach. Matt Lindsey scored five of his game-high 20 points in the final period. Josh Lindsey had four of his 15 then; and fellow guard Matt Stanaland scored three points.
Six of those points came from the free-throw line, with Matt Lindsey adding a crucial pull-up jumper with just under two minutes remaining to give the Chiefs a four-point lead. Myrtle Beach had its share of big plays late – including an Anthony McNeil 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining.
The Seahawks simply fell one big play short.
“We didn’t shoot all that well,” Myrtle Beach coach Craig Martin said. “But it was more them than us. They hustled and played great defense.”
North Myrtle Beach, though, may have to do that one more time to earn the region’s top playoff seed. If there is a next time, it will be on a neutral court.
“That’s what we need, energy from the crowd,” Matt Lindsey said. “Hopefully we’re going have a huge crowd.”
Given the types of environments in both gyms when these two teams have played so far, that may be a given. There also could be a large contingent in place Monday.
North Myrtle Beach fans and players may enter enemy territory – in order to root for Georgetown. Either way, the rivalry between North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach added another memorable game.
Another one may not be far off.
“I think we should play a third game,” Martin said. “I wouldn’t mind playing them five or six times throughout the season. Our play makes us better.”
NMB girls earn playoff bid, Seahawks clinch title
Aquera Johnson picked a great time to have one of the best games of her young career.
The North Myrtle Beach freshman scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds, helping the Chiefs to a 50-45 victory over Myrtle Beach on Saturday. North Myrtle Beach (15-9 overall, 5-5 Region VII-AAA) owns several potential tie-breakers via the region’s point standings and can start planning for the playoffs.
Myrtle Beach (12-10, 7-2), despite the loss and Monday’s game against Georgetown still on the schedule, also knows its immediate future. Courtesy of the Bulldogs’ win over Wilson on Saturday, the Seahawks won the Region VII-AAA title.
On Saturday, though, it was the Chiefs who had everything going their way.
Johnson’s rebounding performance was part of a massive advantage the Chiefs held in that category. Senior Marci Chestnut also finished with 14 boards (and 14 points), and Laquiesha Stanley and Ronshelia DeWitt each added nine rebounds of their own.
In total, North Myrtle Beach had 56 rebounds to Myrtle Beach’s 36.
That started to lean in the Chiefs favor early, as several Myrtle Beach players found themselves in foul trouble. From there, North Myrtle Beach went to work, especially on the offensive end. The team grabbed 30 offensive rebounds and had 26 second-chance points, including several during a 13-2 third quarter.
“That’s pretty much our style,” North Myrtle Beach coach Jude Hunt said. “We like to bang it inside. … Part of our philosophy is we always want to win the rebound battle and the free-throw battle. We did a great job of getting to the line and rebounding.”
North Myrtle Beach wasn’t especially strong from the line – connecting on 15 of their 39 opportunities there. But it didn’t factor into the result more than margin of victory.
The Chiefs won’t know their final playoff seeding until after Monday night’s Myrtle Beach-Georgetown game, and a potential play-in game could be necessary.
Myrtle Beach, which got a game-high 25 points from Keocia Walker in the loss, owns home-court advantage throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs. Those will begin for all classes in boys and girls on Thursday.
• MYRTLE BEACH (45) – Keocia Walker 25, Kyerra Adderton 8, Nakia Black 5, Kiana Adderton 5. Tanya Dennison 2.
• NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (50) – Hannah McIntyre 7, Marci Chestnut 14, Laquiesha Stanley 4, Ronshelia DeWitt 2, Julia Cole 3, Aquera Johnson 20.
• 3-point goals: MB 1 (Walker); NMB 1 (McIntyre). Team fouls: MB 23, NMB 14. Fouled out: Mia Pressley, Tatyanna Hollins, Black. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Myrtle Beach: 12-10, 7-2 Region VII-AAA; North Myrtle Beach 15-9, 5-5 .
• MYRTLE BEACH (52) – Graham Vaughn 2, Soloman Cooper 18, Brooks Swanson 9, Coleman Martini 2, Will Gray 3, Anthony McNeil 13, Tyshame Lewis 2, Drew Allan 3.
• NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (55) – Josh Lindsey 15, Tyrique Robinson 2, Matt Lindsey 20, Cameron Gore 4, Matt Stanaland 7, Drew Dunn 7.
• 3-point goal s: MB 7 (Swanson 3, McNeil 3, Gray); NMB 3 (Josh Lindset, Matt Lindsay, Stanaland). Team fouls: MB 20, NMB 16. Fouled out: Gray. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Myrtle Beach: 17-6, 8-1 Region VII-AAA; North Myrtle Beach 20-4, 9-1
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com.