Tommy Johnson got to a point where he stopped counting his wins and losses.
That doesn’t mean others stopped paying attention to the Socastee boys basketball coach.
Johnson will be part of an eight-person class inducted into the Florence Hall of Fame on Jan. 5 at the Florence Civic Center. It will recognize the 20 years he spent at Wilson and another decade at West Florence in which he coached the Knights to the 1986 Class AAAA state title.
“It was one of those things that I was not dwelling on, but I was hoping it would happen,” Johnson said Monday. “I felt like the resume was pretty good. I was more elated than anything else – elated, thrilled, happy.
“One of the guys there asked me was the highlight there winning the state title or the region championship. I said ‘no.’ This probably is. It’s one thing to have a good team or a good run or any of that stuff. It’s entirely different to be recognized by this organization for the hall. It’s probably the top of the ladder.”
Johnson, who is in his eighth year at Socastee after replacing Dan D’Antoni in 2005, also spent two seasons at Morehead State (Kent.) from 1989-1991 before returning to South Carolina.
Johnson – who has also spent time coaching baseball, tennis, girls golf and football – has won somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 games as a high-school basketball coach, although again, he’s not exactly sure where he stands as of right now.
“I used to be able to tell you that number. I never worried about writing it down,” he said. “After this many years, it sort of gets real gray. It means I’ve had a lot of good players and a lot of good coaches and a lot of years.”
Depending on exactly where that number falls, Johnson could be as high as fifth all-time in state history for coaching victories.
Shootout by the Sea set
North Myrtle Beach’s annual basketball tournament, the Shootout By The Sea, has been finalized. The 16-team event will take place December 20-22 at the high school.
Tickets for the ninth year of the tournament are $6 for a day pass, and games begin at 10 a.m. that first day.
The boys bracket includes the Chiefs, Forest Hills, Sumter, Nation Ford, North Brunswick (N.C.), Summerville, Marlboro County and Center Point (Ala.).
The girls tournament will feature North Myrtle Beach, North Brunswick, South Florence, Cross, Scott County (Kent.), Nation Ford, Goose Creek and Marlboro County.
Goose Creek advanced to the state semifinals in Class AAAA last season.
Another former St. James baseball player appears to be headed to the NCAA Division-I ranks.
Carl Buddin, who graduated from the school in 2011 before heading to Brunswick (N.C.) Community College, will sign with Winthrop, according to Sharks coach Robbie Centracchio. Buddin, who had originally committed to NCAA Division-II Mount Olive as a catcher during high school, changed his mind so that he could focus on pitching.
“He would mess around in the bullpen from time to time and I’d give him some work, not a lot, maybe eight-10 innings,” Centracchio said of Buddin’s senior season at St. James.
Buddin had minor arm surgery prior to the 2012 season at Brunswick and did not pitch. However, he spent this past summer with the Murrells Inlet American Legion team and continued to work on a delivery style that made him stand out.
The right-handed submarine pitcher started to get interest, and that led him to Winthrop.
Buddin was part of a monster senior class at St. James that led the Sharks to the Class AAA state title that season. It was highlighted by current South Carolina outfielder Tanner English and College of Charleston infielder Gunnar Heidt, two players who started for their respective college teams. Buddin and four others from that class also signed with colleges, and now, another one of them is going to land in college baseball’s top division.
At least three players from this year’s senior class at St. James are expected to sign college scholarship offers in the spring. Pitcher Anders DeShields has given a verbal commitment to College of Charleston, while Carter Brakefield and Zach Cook are also receiving significant interest.
There’s also Caleb Duggan. The two-sport star is receiving interest in both baseball and basketball.
State basketball rankings
Three area teams remained in the top 10 in the statewide coaches poll, released Monday afternoon.
The North Myrtle Beach girls team is now ranked No. 4 in Class AAA following its 4-0 start to the season. Three of North Myrtle Beach’s victories have come by at least 35 points.
Carvers Bay has both teams in the Class A poll. The boys team is ranked No. 5, while the girls squad comes in at No. 10.
North Myrtle Beach will play host to West Brunswick (N.C.) Tuesday. The Chiefs defeated West Brunswick 71-15 on Nov. 27. Also on Tuesday, both Bears teams will head to Hannah-Pamplico.
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