Junior guard Tim Pickel was Easley's go-to guy early Wednesday in the championship game of the Shootout by The Sea, just as he had been for much of the tournament.
Pickel, named the tournament MVP, hit five of his first six shots and scored 11 points in the game's opening 10 minutes. That's the point when he went down with an ankle injury, so the Green Wave had to look elsewhere against Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard High.
They found what they were looking for all over the floor, as four other players scored at least eight points, led by senior guard Joe Graver's 17 points, and Easley (6-2) captured the title with a 62-55 win at North Myrtle Beach High School.
"We've got some skillful kids more than we're athletic," Easley coach Steve Beasley said. "We've got some length and skill and their intelligent."
The Green Wave also played without starting junior forward McKenzie Blandin, who was nursing an ankle injury. Without a couple key cogs, Easley kept it simple, and managed to shoot 58 percent from the floor in doing so, including a sizzling 77 percent in the first half while building a 13-point lead at the break. A 12-0 run midway through the second half essentially sealed the title.
"We really can't run any kind of delay game, and the motion we usually run some of the new guys don't know it yet," Beasley said. "We kept it very simple and didn't run a lot of different stuff because of the experience factor."
Hoggard (10-2) also lost its top scorer in the game's early minutes when Stilman White left the game with a knee injury, but the Vikings were unable to find similar production from other players. Lawson Ahrens scored 16, Drew Combs 13 and Darius Plummer 11 to lead the Vikings.
"Our leading scorer only played seven minutes and scored two points," Hoggard coach Brett Queen said. "That will change your plans a little bit. They're big and shot the ball really well and did a good jobs on the boards. We just didn't do enough right to be able to overcome the adversity we were facing."