MYRTLE BEACH — Last year, the Seahawks were a home win away from a trip to Florence for the Class AAA Lower State final. Darlington had designs of something else, and the Seahawks’ hopes were ended with a one-point loss.
You better believe this year’s group of Myrtle Beach players remembers that not-so-friendly result.
After Myrtle Beach defeated Berkeley 72-52 on Thursday in the opening round of the playoffs, the Seahawks are preparing for a huge match-up with another upset-minded Region VI-AAA squad.
Hartsville, the Class AAA state champs each of the last two seasons, will be heading into town on Saturday.
“We’ve got to make sure we protect home court,” Seahawks coach Craig Martin said. “We’ve worked all season to get home court. You work so hard to get it during the season; you don’t want to lose it.
“You can kind of relive that situation [the loss to Darlington]. These kids went through it. I went through it. They remember the Darlington game.”
Thanks to its first-round performance against the Stags, that little bit of stress is at least an option.
The Seahawks, after a close opening quarter, continued to stretch its lead from there and improved to 20-6. Region VII-AAA Player of the Year Solomon Cooper and fellow guard Brooks Swanson each had 10 points.
The team also got a relative unexpected 15 points from big man Coleman Martini. The 6-foot-5 post player stepped outside to connect on three 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 15 points.
“It’s been our fault. We haven’t got him the ball in the right spots,” Martin said. “He proved he could do the right thing when we put him in the right spots.”
Myrtle Beach could package more of that with its uptempo style against Hartsville in the second-round match-up. The Red Foxes, ranked No. 1 in the state for a portion of the season, blew out Strom Thurmond 84-53 in their first-round game.
The teams will play at approximately 7:30 p.m., or about 15 minutes after the conclusion of the Myrtle Beach girls’ second-round game against Lakewood.
At that time, the Seahawks will have to show they have learned from last year’s let-down.
“We’ve tried to move on,” Cooper said. “You’ve got to have a short memory.”
• BERKELEY (52) – Keyshawn Matthews 3, Matthew Harkness 2, Mason Edward 7, Jordan Brown 2, DeAndre Richardson 5, Harry Dorsey 2, Malik Megget 5, Demery Ford 4, Peyton Thompson 12, Dee Harley 4, Alex Taylor 6.
• MYRTLE BEACH (72) – Anthony McNeil 8, Tyshame Lewis 8, Graham Vaughn 4, Solomon Cooper 10, Brooks Swanson 10, Rivers Singleton 2, Wesley Ford 1, Drew Allan 6, Coleman Martini 15, Will Gray 5, Kennis Jenkins 1, D.J. Cooper 2
• 3-point goals: Berkeley 1 (Matthews); Myrtle Beach 5 (Martini 3, Lewis 2). Team fouls: Berkeley 23, Myrtle Beach 23. Fouled out: Heath Gray. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Berkeley 11-13; Myrtle Beach 20-6 .
Contact IAN GUERIN at firstname.lastname@example.org.