India Farmer and the rest of her teammates had no intentions of backing into the postseason.
North Myrtle Beach, which had already locked up a top-three region finish prior to Friday, secured a first-round Class AAA playoff home game with a 75-46 win over Georgetown. The Chiefs now need just one more win or a Myrtle Beach loss in either of next week’s games to clinch the Region VII-AAA title.
But they’re also looking to enter the postseason with the continued momentum of the current 11-game winning streak.
“Those wins definitely help,” Farmer said after eclipsing the 1,000 career-points mark in the third quarter. “It keeps the fire burning, and we’re excited that we’re winning. And we want to keep on winning.
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“It’s beating those teams that will help us beat other teams later.”
The last two regular-season games will come against the two teams – Socastee and Myrtle Beach – that are directly behind North Myrtle Beach in the region standings. A win in either of those contests, or the aforementioned Seahawk loss, nets the Chiefs their first region title since 2005-2006.
The more immediate impact is what it will mean for the postseason.
The Region VII-AAA winner will receive home-court advantage for the first three rounds of the playoffs. North Myrtle Beach (20-2, 8-0 region), which won its last region title in 2006, has the inside track to be that team.
And playing at home through the state quarterfinals could be a huge boost for a team with realistic state-title aspirations.
“We talked about being in control of our own destiny,” Chiefs coach Jude Hunt said. “… We’re planning on winning the last of them, even if we clinch it with the next one. We’re planning on going 10-0.”
Against the Bulldogs (10-8, 3-5), North Myrtle Beach looked like that type of team. Senior guard Taylor Allman finished with a game-high 24 points, and Farmer added 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists en route to the career scoring milestone.
Georgetown, fourth in the region, had little to combat that, especially after top inside player Justice Evans was whistled for her third foul just 4 minutes into the game and eventually fouled out in the third quarter. Evans was instrumental in holding Myrtle Beach to just eight first-half points less than two weeks ago.
With her on the bench, however, North Myrtle Beach ran out to a double-digit first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Instead, the Chiefs were firmly able to start thinking about their final two regular-season games, Tuesday’s home finale against Socastee and a road contest against Myrtle Beach on Friday.
“Our girls are going to be more positive than anything. They’re going to be excited about those games,” Hunt said. “Those are games we get fired up for. Those are teams we consider rivals.”
– Taziya Moody 6, Justice Evans 2, Raven Smith 7, Alexis Grove 3, Jamia Porcher 11, Moet Spann 14, Danasia Grate 2, Velvet Graham 1.
•NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (75)
– Taylor Allman 24, India Farmer 21, Ronshelia DeWitt 1, Ja’Quella Livingston 5, Marci Chestut, 8, Taylor White 2, Sarah McCloskey 2, Hannah McIntyre 4, Laquisha Stanley 4, Ingrid Edge 4.
• 3-point goals: Georgetown 4 (Porcher 2, Moody, Smith); North Myrtle Beach 3 (Allman 3). Team fouls: GT 18; NMB 16. Fouled out: Evans. Technical fouls: None.
: Georgetown 10-8, 3-5 Region VII-AAA; North Myrtle Beach 20-2, 8-0.