Hartsville owned the first quarter.
Myrtle Beach took the fourth.
And the game.
The Seahawks overcame a double-digit deficit to defeat Hartsville 65-56 on Saturday, a win that propels Myrtle Beach to the third round of the Class AAA playoffs for the second straight season.
“It definitely was a lapse,” senior Brooks Swanson said of a first quarter in which the Seahawks scored just six points. “It might have been nerves. It was our focus the first few minutes, which is the most important time of the game.”
Myrtle Beach outscored Hartsville 39-25 in the second half. Swanson – who finished with a game-high 21 points – had eight in the fourth quarter alone, matching the Red Foxes’ team tally that period.
The Myrtle Beach victory ended two Hartsville (16-7) streaks. The two-time defending Class AAA champions won’t have an opportunity to three-peat. The Red Foxes also lost a playoff game for the first time after 11 straight wins in the postseason. And while this was certainly no David vs. Goliath match-up – Myrtle Beach (21-6) was ranked No. 1 in the state entering the playoffs – knocking off the two-time defending champs was no easy task.
LeKeith Ingram had 17 points for Hartsville, and Jaylen Johnson had 12. In the fourth quarter, though, the Red Foxes had just three field goals.
“Having a bunch of seniors who are resilient and have played good teams… They weathered the storm,” Myrtle Beach coach Craig Martin said.
They also did what they have done throughout the majority of the season.
The Seahawks’ slew of guards continued to push despite the early deficit.
“I think it’s hard to play against a team with that pace for  minutes,” Swanson said. “It’s a game of runs. Usually our runs will outdo theirs.”
It did this time, too, especially after three Hartsville starters had three fouls midway through the third quarter.
The win sets up Myrtle Beach’s second straight trip to third round. Last year, the Seahawks required an upset to get another home game. They lost to Darlington by a point. This time, Martin’s team was already locked into its own gym.
A win against Midland Valley on Wednesday sends the Seahawks to Florence for Saturday’s Lower State title game.
“We felt we have an opportunity to do that last year,” Martin said. “And we let it slip through our fingers.”
Thanks to a strong finish Saturday, the Seahawks will have another crack at it.
• Hartsville (56) – Demshawn Smith 7, Davion McCoy 7, Chris Williams 5, Devonte Robinson 8, LeKeith Ingram 17, Jaylen Johnson 12
• Myrtle Beach (65) – Anthony McNeil 5, Graham Vaughn 6, Soloman Cooper 9, Brooks Swanswon 21, Drew Allan 6, Coleman Martini 11, Will Gray 7.
• HARTSVILLE (56) – Demshawn Smith 7, Davion McCoy 7, Chris Williams 5, Devonte Robinson 8, LeKeith Ingram 17, Jaylen Johnson 12.
• MYRTLE BEACH (65) – Anthony McNeil 5, Graham Vaughn 6, Soloman Cooper 9, Brooks Swanswon 21, Drew Allan 6, Coleman Martini 11, Will Gray 7.
• 3-point goals: Hartsville 3 (Johnson 2, Robinson); Myrtle Beach 5 (Swanson 3, Cooper, Gray). Team fouls: Hartsville 19, Myrtle Beach 18. Fouled out: Robinson (H). Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Hartsville 16-7; Myrtle Beach 21-6.
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com.