On senior night, it was Myrtle Beach’s elder statesmen that ensured the team would play at least one more game on its home floor.
Feeling as if its play against rival North Myrtle Beach a few weeks earlier wasn’t up to snuff, the Seahawks were out to leave no doubt which of them was the more dominant squad.
Down five in the second quarter, Myrtle Beach rattled off an 18-0 run to end the period, seizing advantage of the game — and Region VII-4A’s No. 2 spot — with a 69-46 win over the Chiefs.
“You never know what to expect with high school kids. But these kids really responded to what we wanted them to do and stepped up,”said Myrtle Beach boys basketball coach Craig Martin.
Coming into the contest, both teams had aspirations of starting the Class 4A state playoffs on their home floor. Such motivation would inspire quite an opening period of play, the teams trading the lead on several occasions.
The Chiefs would open the second stanza with a 17-16 lead, increasing its advantage to five points courtesy of a Jevon Griffin bucket and a 3-pointer from Cason McClendon.
And then, the spigot suddenly went dry for North Myrtle Beach, as for eight game minutes it would not score a single point. Conversely, everything was falling for Myrtle Beach, building a 13-point halftime advantage.
Helping spark the effort was junior guard Jayce Allen, who knocked down two 3-pointers immediately after being inserted into the game.
“It was very important. We had to prove our first loss (to North Myrtle Beach) was a mistake,” he said. “We had to actually play defense, 100 percent offense, 100 percent everything. Just teamwork, dedication, loyalty.
“It felt good. The play was running and the ball ended up in my hands, so I had to finish it.”
The Seahawks’ onslaught continued in the second half, building their lead to as many as 30 before settling on the final margin.
Allen — who finished with 13 points — was one of three Myrtle Beach players to finish in double digits. Also doing so was Robert Swanson with a team-high 14 points, and JaQuan Chestnut with 11.
“Last time we played out there, they were more aggressive than us, played harder and wanted it more,” Chestnut said. “This game was kind of our revenge, go out there get every loose ball, rebound and we came out with a victory.”
Leading the way for North Myrtle Beach was Tyron Stockdale, who led all scorers with 19 points.
Though disappointed in how things fared, Chiefs boys basketball coach Alvin Green was quick to give credit where it was due.
“(Myrtle Beach) played hard, they stuck to their script,” he said. “Quite frankly, my guys weren’t ready to play. You could see it … in the first quarter we played well, and the game was going back and forth. In the second, we just folded.”
North Myrtle Beach will hit the road Wednesday for the first round of the playoffs, taking on Region V-5A’s No. 2-seed Lower Richland. As for Myrtle Beach, it will host Dreher.