It appeared as if Myrtle Beach boys basketball coach Craig Martin was sending a message.
Tuesday night, he left starting center Coleman Martini in the game in the second quarter even after the junior had picked up his third foul. Moments later, the 6-foot-5 big man picked up No. 4.
It wasn’t even halftime of the Seahawks’ 61-44 victory over Carolina Forest, and already a player was one misstep, one poorly timed hand-check, one miscall away from being disqualified for the rest of the night.
Turns out, Martin wasn’t necessarily using a non-region game that will mean nothing in the playoff hunt as a teaching moment. He just didn’t have many options.
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Inexperience led to two straight losses to open the season, and the team has now overcome some “bumps and bruises” to rattle off three straight.
“We just have a lot of guys hurt,” Martin said, specifying starting guard Nolin Butler, the team’s best player, and center Nick Wunder.
“We’ve got five guys who played varsity, but we’ve got a lot of kids who this is their first varsity experience. And we’ve played four away games and one home game. We’re trying to prepare them for region play.”
That’s still a few weeks away, but like the beginning of last season, the Seahawks already know one thing that could potentially turn into a hamstringing-type situation.
Martini wasn’t the only one in foul trouble. Butler, who tried to give it a go, also had two first-quarter fouls. So did back-up guard Rivers Singleton. Myrtle Beach teammates Bert Mack and Wayne Vereen also two each before halftime.
It was a problem that was covered up by Carolina Forest’s shooting. The Panthers connected on a respectable 12-of-18 attempts from the line. However, Brian Brunson’s team hit just three field goals in the first half.
“We need to learn to play without fouling,” guard Soloman Cooper said. “We’re fouling too much right now. We need to try to cause turnovers. We’re not playing like we need to be playing. That’s a problem with us that we need to fix.”
Cooper led the way for Myrtle Beach with 14 points, and Anthony McNeil, Tyshame Lewis and Brooks Swanson each had eight.
Carolina Forest junior Ryan Yurachek led all scorers with 17 points. However, it wasn’t enough to keep up with Myrtle Beach.
Foul problems or not.
“As aggressive as we play and as fast as we play and the pace we go at, we’re going to foul,” Martin said. “That’s a given. But we can’t foul as much as we are right now. We need to do a better job of anticipating and beating them to the spot.”
• MYRTLE BEACH (61) – Soloman Cooper 14, Anthony McNeil 8, Tyshame Lewis 8, Brooks Swanson 8, Nolin Butler 7, Bert Mack 6, Tyrone Cooper 4, Wayne Vereen 4, Heath Gray 1, Rivers Singleton 1.
• CAROLINA FOREST (44) – Ryan Yurachek 17, Zavier Jones 8, Isaac Wathen 8, Donovan Williams 3, Shakiel White 3, Chris Johnson 2, Parker Helgersen 2, Jawan Butler-Stevens 1.
• 3-point goals: Carolina Forest 1 (Jones). Team fouls: Myrtle Beach 20, Carolina Forest 19. Fouled out: Coleman Martini (MB).
• Records: Myrtle Beach 3-2, Carolina Forest 1-4
Seahawk girls hold off Panthers
Shae Shaw scored 12 points, senior forward Tanisha Brown scored 11 and Kiana Adderton added eight as the Myrtle Beach girls team beat Carolina Forest 45-28.
The Seahawks improved to 4-4 on the season.
The Panthers (1-6) lost their third straight game, and the immediate future prospects may not be that much better. Senior forward Marisa Runyon hyperextended her left knee in the third quarter and left the game for good. She eventually left the gym on crutches, and coach Stacy Hughes said Runyon could miss several games. The Panthers have two games remaining before a holiday tournament in Hilton Head.
Senior guard Ashleigh Turner led all scorers with 21 points.
• MYRTLE BEACH (45) – Ivy Collins 2, Shavae Shaw 12, Nia Sumpter 4, Kiana Adderton 8, Christiana Myers 6, Tanisha Brown 11, Tanya Dennison 2.
• CAROLINA FOREST (28) – Cristina Wright 2, Kia Brisbon 2, Marisa Runion 3, Ashleigh Turner 21.
• 3-point goals: Myrtle Beach 1 (Myers); Team fouls: Myrtle Beach 18, Carolina Forest 12.
• Records: Carolina Forest: 2-6.