Despite a 45-31 win over Carolina Forest in the Lady Sand & Hoops Invitational, the Myrtle Beach girls basketball team had a scare Tuesday.
Senior forward Tanisha Brown and sophomore guard Shionna Myers both exited the game with apparent leg injuries in the second half. Brown missed the majority of last season with a knee injury.
“It makes a big impact,” Seahawks coach Jennifer Dennison said. “Both of them are starters. I’m hoping they were just minor injuries, and I’m hoping they’ll be back tomorrow (Wednesday). If not, I’ll have to get the rest of [the team] ready and take it one day at a time.”
Myers injured her right leg on a lay up attempt and left the game with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter. Myers finished with two points.
Brown, a major force for the Seahawks, was in obvious pain after she fell to the ground with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter. Brown had 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
“Tanisha Brown is a great player,” Panthers assistant coach Brian Arroz said. “We let her get to the basket a few times and we knew if that happened we were going to have a hard time stopping them.”
Said Dennison: “Tanisha did real good, we just have to finish getting her where she needs to be conditioning-wise. Once we get her conditioning down, we’re going to be alright.”
Myrtle Beach was coming off a season-opening 49-42 loss to Mullins on Monday, in which Brown led the Seahawks in scoring with 15 points.
“We did a little better than we did [Monday],” Dennison said. “We had about 12 turnovers [Tuesday], and [Monday] we had 29 – which is a big difference. We’re still very young.
“We’re trying. We’re putting a lot on Tanisha, who is one of the top seniors in South Carolina. If we can get her where she needs to be, we’ll be alright.”
Myrtle Beach got out to an early advantage, outscoring the Panthers 31-9 in the first half.
“I think they turned their defensive intensity up and we didn’t handle it very well,” Arroz said. “They went with a man defense, put a lot of pressure on the ball and we didn’t do the things we needed to do on offense. We turned the ball over some and I don’t think we played great defense either.”
Christiana Myers led the Seahawks in scoring with a game-high 16 points, and hit the only three-pointer Myrtle Beach had.
“Christiana looked good for us [Monday] and [Tuesday],” Dennison said. “She really took over the game.”
Senior Marisa Runyon had a team-high 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Carolina Forest. Senior Christina Wright had a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with three points, and senior Ashleigh Turner had eight rebounds and two points for the Panthers.
“We’re young and I think it’s going to be a learning process all year,” Arroz said. “Myrtle Beach is always good and their tradition speaks for itself. They always have good players and they’re always well-coached. We knew we had a tough game [Tuesday].
“...This is the fifth year I’ve coached girls basketball and we came close to beating [the Seahawks] once, and we play them twice a year, so I knew what to expect coming into the game,” Arroz added. “I knew we had a tall task. We almost had to play flawless to win this game. They’re a good program and tough to deal with.”
Former Myrtle Beach star guard Khadijah Sessions graduated in May after scoring 3,020 career points – fifth in state history – and earning several player of the year honors and a scholarship to the University of South Carolina. Dennison knows it’s going to be tough without Sessions leading the Seahawks, but she intends on teaching a new wave of Myrtle Beach players.
“It’s a big transition without Khadijah,” Dennison said. “She’s one of the best point guards in the history of South Carolina since she was an eighth grader. I knew what I was getting into before I accepted the job and I knew I had to coach them one day at a time and teach them fundamentals.”