Those who didn’t know Jaquan Grissett’s game may not have understood why he was so upset with himself after missing a pair of second-quarter free throws.
The North Myrtle Beach guard had been fouled on a 3-point attempt, and his first two free throws missed off the rim. Later on, fans saw just how much he works on that facet of the game.
Grissett nailed all eight of his attempts from the line in the final 51 seconds, helping the Chiefs ice their 58-50 Region VII-AAA opener over St. James.
“We’re in practice and coach tells us ‘take it seriously,’ ” Grissett said. “I go in there and work hard. Sometimes, in a game like that, it pays off.”
Grissett finished the game 15-of-17 from the line en route to a game-high 31 points. He also added eight rebounds. It was his teammates’ ability to get him the ball late that ultimately did the trick.
North Myrtle Beach led by just two points with less than 2 minutes to play. St. James, which made a strong run in the second half to close what had been a 13-point deficit in the second quarter, started to go cold. The Chiefs grabbed those misses and made sure it immediately went to Grissett.
“Everyone on our team knows to get him the ball,” North Myrtle Beach coach Frank Moorhead said. “If we get a rebound, get him the ball. He knows he’s supposed to keep it.”
Tuesday, it was a strategy that led to a key early region win.
Guard Josh Lindsey chipped in 14 points for North Myrtle Beach, and Marshawn Scott added eight.
St. James senior Caleb Duggan led the Sharks with 19 points, and forward TreDarius McCallum scored 11 despite missing most of the first half. McCallum was whistled for a technical foul for making contact with the rim and then called for a personal 3:16 into the game. He didn’t return until midway through the second quarter – when the Sharks trailed by nine points – and was only in the game for about two minutes before moving back to the bench.
It played a large part in North Myrtle Beach grabbing an early lead and going on to win the opener. However, the playoff-deciding games have only just begun. North Myrtle Beach will have Wilson (who beat Myrtle Beach Tuesday) at home Friday before hitting the road against Georgetown next week.
Little to nothing will likely be settled after those contests.
“People probably don’t realize – they talked about it around the state – how tough our region was,” Moorhead said. “It’s tough. Myrtle Beach, St. James, everyone knows how good they are.”
Said Grissett: “We want to win the region. That’s our first goal as a team. We beat St. James. We feel if we can beat them, we can compete with anybody.”
Chiefs girls keep rolling
North Myrtle Beach made sure its strong start from non-region play continued.
The Chiefs beat defending region champions St. James 51-37 on the strength of 25 points from senior Taylor Allman. The guard’s big night included five 3-pointers.
“We’ve been working on Taylor’s shot a little bit,” North Myrtle Beach coach Jude Hunt said. “She had been on a little bit of a cold spell. She seems to be coming out of it.”
Granted, that “cold spell” is relative. Allman has pretty much been in double figures all season.
Her outburst Tuesday, however, came at a good time.
The Chiefs have not won a region title since going back-to-back in 2004 and 2005. And while St. James doesn’t have many of the weapons it did a year ago, the Sharks are still the defending region title holders.
St. James led the game in the opening quarter before the Chiefs went on a 17-5 run to end the first half.
The Chiefs also got 12 points from India Farmer and 10 rebounds from Ja’Quella Livingston. St. James was led in scoring by senior Hannah Price, who finished with 19 points.