High School Football

Prep notebook: North-South week has players on display along Strand

Players selected to participate in 64th Annual SCADA North-South All-Star Football game are in Myrtle Beach preparing for Saturday’s game.

The game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. But in many ways, the build-up to Saturday is almost as big as the game itself.

The 88 players began two-a-day practices with their respective teams Monday morning. Those will continue through Thursday. Friday’s practice will be restricted to a single-morning session.

The teams will spend a portion of that afternoon at Ripley’s Aquarium. That evening, the teams will have a Fellowship of Christian Athletes dinner, followed by the awards ceremony for South Carolina’s Mr. Football Award. Conway’s Mykal Moody, who will play in next week’s Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, is one of five finalists.

Thursday will also include what has become a staple of North-South week. That day, the players will be at the Myrtle Beach Target with area children. The shopping spree, started by former Myrtle Beach, Virginia Tech and Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Brandon Frye, will begin at noon.

As far as what happens on the field, again, the days of practice could be bigger than the game itself for many of the players. North-South selections practice throughout the week with plenty of eyes on them. That includes what is expected to be more than a handful of college coaches attempting to speak with multiple players in one trip.

Often, with a lack of NCAA Division I offers, this week is where players can shore up a chance to play at a Division-II school.

Shark takes on new role

The St. James boys basketball team didn’t exactly send shockwaves through the area hoops scene with a 58-51 win over Waccamaw last week. But the Sharks did show something that should have opposing teams taking notice.

Monty Carr’s team beat the Warriors in a close game despite only four points from senior Caleb Duggan. The guard, who last month was named to the South Carolina Basketball Coaches’ top seniors watch list, averaged 20 points per game last year, was named a Toast of the Coast honoree and helped the Sharks to a third-place finish in the region.

However, if there was a knock on St. James as a whole, it was that the team often relied too much on Duggan to do his thing. Friday’s win showed that he’s not the only weapon.

Forward TreDarius McCallum scored 16 points, fellow senior Nehemia Stafford dropped 12 and Matt Strange added nine.

“It’s a great thing as a whole. We’re not a team that relies on one player,” Carr said Monday. “At the same time, he can score his points in bunches. It was even better that Caleb was ecstatic for his teammates.”

Carr has six seniors on this year’s team, one that figures to challenge for the region title. Whether or not that happens, though, could depend on the team’s progression the next three-four weeks in terms of what the players believe they can accomplish.

Non-region victories don’t factor into playoff qualifying. But if the Sharks can continue to rely on more than just Duggan, their chances improve.

In many ways, that has as much to do with Duggan as anyone else. Carr said the senior recognized early Friday that it wasn’t his night, and instead made himself a “decoy” while other players took on bigger roles.

It was a change from most of 2011 and even last week’s season opener. It was then that Duggan scored a game-high 21 points in a slim victory over Conway.

“He did not get his normal amount of shots,” Carr said of the game against Waccamaw. “It was more he didn’t feel it for himself. He made a decision to not take the shots that he normally takes.

“From a scouting point of view, even though a coach knows they have to take Caleb out of the equation, now they know they have to take other players out of the equation. … The more wins with we get and the different ways we get, the more confidence we will get.”

St. James (2-0) heads to South Florence Wednesday before a rematch against Waccamaw at home Friday.

Socastee senior could return soon

Blake Smith has been a crucial part of the Socastee girls basketball team the last two years.

Soon, the senior is expected to make her 2012 debut.

Smith dislocated her left elbow Nov. 14 during a scrimmage with Conway. It was reset that evening at the hospital, and initial tests revealed no break or ligament damage, according to coach Ginger Ford.

The original time frame for recovery was 4-6 weeks, and the Braves (2-0) hope to have a definitive answer after a return trip to the doctor on Wednesday.

“It was horrible looking. It was one of those things where you couldn’t do anything,” Ford said of the original injury. “She’s doing real well. She’s using her arm quite a bit.”

Smith was an all-region selection for the second consecutive season last year after leading Socastee to its highest win total (11) in decade and a postseason appearance. She averaged 12.4 points, 11 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as a junior.

Toast of the Coast fall sports reminder

The deadline for coaches submitting Toast of the Coast nominations for girls tennis and volleyball is noon Wednesday. The deadline for girls golf is noon Thursday.

If you have any questions for these three sports, contact Ian Guerin at ian@ianguerin.com.