Final act for Nichols, talented Conway squad: Over the past few seasons, coach Mike Hopkins and his Conway boys hoops squad have won more than their share of games. Yet, such regular-season success has not translated into a postseason win. With Providence signee Jimmy Nichols making his final lap in the green and gold, the group certainly wants to get that monkey off its back.
Can Green Sea Floyds get over the hump?: Three points separated Green Sea Floyds from bringing home a state Class A girls basketball championship last spring. With many of last year’s key players back – among them all-state performer and 2017 Toast of the Coast Player of the Year Tamara Jackson – there is hope this is the year a title makes its way to the northern end of Horry County.
Carolina Forest, Conway girls renew acquaintances: A last-second shot by Zakera Chadmon a season ago propelled Conway past Carolina Forest in its season finale, giving the Tigers a Region 6-5A championship. The two again are expected to be the class of the league, with Carolina Forest ranked seventh in Class 5A, while Conway is 10th.
Myrtle Beach experiencing a youth movement: All-state performers Kiana Adderton and Nia Sumpter left their mark on the Seahawks’ girls basketball program. Yet one thing has been made clear in Jennifer Dennison’s time at the helm: “Give her time and that team will be rolling.” Key returnees have assumed leadership roles, helping the program’s future catch up to speed.
Running of the Bears: Jeff Mezzatesta has felt for some time the 2017-18 Carvers Bay boys basketball team had potential to be special. Class 2A pollsters tend to agree, with state basketball coaches voting the Bears No. 4 in their preseason poll. Fifteen contributors to a team that advanced to the Lower State 2A semifinal round return, eager to take the program back to rarified air.
Grand Strand Hoops Fab Five
Andrew Gardner, Socastee: The Lees-McRae commit averaged 8 points and six rebounds a season ago.
Dijon Goss, Carvers Bay: Voted among Class 2A’s top five senior players by coaches statewide, the senior forward averaged 13.5 points and nearly three rebounds a game last season.
Michael Green, Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach: The junior averaged 14.3 points and five assists per game last season.
Jimmy Nichols, Conway: The Providence signee averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game a season ago. Was voted a preseason Elite performer by the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association (SCBCA).
Robert Swanson, Myrtle Beach: Averaged nearly 16 points per game a season ago, knocking down just shy of 50 percent of all shots attempted.
Lenaejha Evans, Conway: Averaged 13.3 points and three rebounds en route to earning All-State 5A honors last season.
Iklea Green, Loris: Scored better than 16 points along with three rebounds for the Lions a season ago for the Lions.
Neci Hemingway, Conway: A walking double-double, she averaged 11 points and 11 rebounds last season for the Tigers.
Tamara Jackson, Green Sea Floyds: Voted a preseason all-state performer by the state Basketball Coaches Association, she averaged 19.3 points per game to go along with nearly six rebounds and six assists.
Alexis Tomlin, Carolina Forest: Voted a preseason all-state performer in Class 5A, she averaged 20 points and 14 rebounds last season along with four blocks.