Shamae Hemingway cannot recall exactly how many games she’s played or coached.
Certain moments stick out, however. Expect Saturday’s experience at the Florence Civic Center to be among those filed away for many years to come.
Sure, the journey to a Lower State final, a Region VI-5A championship and a host of pleasant moments will bring her a smile — both now, and in years to come. Despite those pleasant memories, one will likely prevail with the Conway girls basketball coach until next season begins.
Taking a lead into halftime of Saturday’s Lower State 5A title tilt with Goose Creek, the Tigers were unable to keep pace against the top-ranked Gators, eventually losing 60-38. With the loss, it brought to an end the deepest playoff run ever made by the Conway girls basketball program.
While certainly celebrating the accomplishment, Hemingway was already looking ahead to next year and the potential of making a repeat trip to Florence.
“It hurts, it really does (to lose in the Lower State final),” Hemingway said. “But there’s nothing you can take away from these girls. They played hard every game, to the final whistle. But now that they got a taste, I’m eager to see how much harder they’re willing to work to get back here.”
Christian Academy boys basketball coach Colin Stevens was left with much the same feeling on Saturday as his team departed the Sumter Civic Center.
On the wrong end of a special performance by Spartanburg Day’s Zion Williamson, the Saints were forced to look on helplessly as he scored 51 points, leading his squad to an easy win in the SCISA Class 2A title game.
“Give a lot of credit to (Spartanburg Day). They made their free throws. They were a strong team and had players that made plays,” Stevens said. “Some of the plays we would normally make, we didn't make. In a game like this against a really good team, you've got to make those.
“Our guys played hard. It wasn't because of lack of effort.”
Though losing a pair of key contributors in leading scorer Justin Busby and top rebounder Bryce Schneider — who is destined for Richmond — the Christian Academy head man is already looking ahead to the 2017-18 basketball campaign, looking forward to the chance for his team to settle an old score.
“We're going to learn from it. Right now we're going to soak up the year and be proud of what we have done as a group,” Stevens said. “A sting like this can sometimes fuel you to work harder in the offseason and to come back more ready than ever.”