When the masses have seen your greatness, it becomes an expectation.
Following a season in which she earned all-state honors, the belief by most on the Grand Strand was that Myrtle Beach girls hoops standout Nia Sumpter’s production should only increase as a senior.
By and large that has not been the case, though, as the Wright State signee has instead opted to be the consummate team player, getting the rest of the Seahawks involved.
But in a win-or-go home scenario, Sumpter could not afford to rest on her laurels.
The Myrtle Beach forward led all scorers with 15 points — much of which came in the second half — to help it get past a tough Dreher squad, 33-20, on Tuesday.
“Well, we know if we didn’t play better defense in the second half, we would have been going home,” Sumpter said. “
With the victory, the Seahawks advance to the second round, where they will face Darlington on Friday night.
Playing the team it lost to in last year’s state final, the natural want to gain a measure of revenge was real for Myrtle Beach. Though Seahawks girls coach Jennifer Dennison didn’t believe it played a role, a sluggish start left her incensed.
“Stinking up the gym!” she said late in the first half, as Dreher pulled ahead 13-12 — an advantage it would take with it into halftime.
After the break, a more focused Myrtle Beach group took the floor, one intent on wreaking havoc on the defensive end of the floor.
Two players successful in accomplishing that included Kira Bell and Ajia Kelly. According to Dennison, their work won’t get much love or notice in the scorebook, but was necessary for the Seahawks to walk away with a win.
“They bring the defensive intensity for us,” the Myrtle Beach girls coach said. “That’s what we tell them over and over again — defense wins games, offense sells tickets.”
A pair of Tatyanna Hollins 3-pointers in the fourth would put the game on ice for the Seahawks. Yet, they were not satisfied with the performance.
“We can’t play like that Friday night or it will be tougher (for us),” Sumpter said.
DHS (20): Chelsea Wilson 6, Jaelynn Murray 9, Tasharia Jones 5.
MB (33): Aja Kelly 3, Nia Sumpter 15, Kiana Adderton 8, Kira Bell 1, Tatyanna Hollins 6.
3-pointers: DHS 0, MB 2 (Hollins 2). Team fouls: DHS 13, MB 9. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.
Records: DHS 13-10, MB 20-2.