North Myrtle Beach had nothing to play for Thursday night outside of pride.
The Chiefs had already clinched the Region VII-AAA championship and knew they owned a No. 1 seed in the playoffs regardless of the outcome of their game against Myrtle Beach. With that knowledge in hand, they still made the Seahawks earn every bit of the victory and the accompanying home playoff game.
“We definitely had a lot to play for and they didn’t give it to us because they won the region,” Myrtle Beach guard Nolin Butler said after his team’s 61-58 overtime win. “They definitely came out and gave us a good game.”
“We knew we needed this win to keep home court for at least a game. And we played for it tonight.”
The Seahawks were in a fight – not just with North Myrtle Beach – but also with a pair of other region teams. Wilson, Georgetown and Myrtle Beach all came into the night tied for second place. Wilson won its match-up with the Bulldogs.
However, courtesy of the Seahawks’ season sweep of North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach earned the tie-breaker.
With all that on the line for coach Craig Martin’s team, strong play from both sides made for an entertaining end to the regular season.
Butler led all scorers with 25 points, 12 of which came in the opening quarter. The Chiefs countered with four players in double figures. Jaquan Grissett had 14, while Jeff Vereen (13), Matt Lindsey (12) and Jahlen Livingston (10) were right behind him.
After a back-and-forth final few minutes to regulation, the Seahawks got two free throws from Soloman Cooper and another from Mason Lewis in the final 31.7 of overtime to seal the victory.
The pay-off is that Myrtle Beach will now get at least one game at home in the Class AAA playoffs. On Tuesday, the Seahawks will open the postseason against Marlboro County, who finished in third place in Region VI-AAA.
They’ll do so knowing they swept their own region champ.
“North Myrtle Beach has got some very skilled players,” Martin said. “They’ve got kids who can flat-out shoot the ball. Grissett is phenomenal off the dribble. They’re a tough team, and I think our region has some very good teams there.
North Myrtle Beach in first place, it does give us confidence beating them at their place and have a game like that here. It shows that we’ve been in tight games and we can pull it out.”
North Myrtle Beach, which will have home-court advantage for the first three rounds of the playoffs, will face Crestwood, the fourth-place finisher from Region VI-AAA.
That game will also be played Tuesday.
• 3-point goals: North Myrtle Beach 5 (J. Vereen 2, M. Lindsey, J. Lindsey, Grissett); Myrtle Beach 4 (Butler 3, W. Vereen). Team fouls: NMB 21, MB 18. Fouled out: Grissett, J. Vereen. Technical fouls: T. Cooper.
• Records: North Myrtle Beach 16-8, 7-3 Region VII-AAA; Myrtle Beach 13-11, 6-4.
NMB girls finish perfect
The Chiefs girls team put away Myrtle Beach 51-41 Tuesday in a game that meant nothing to the top of the region standings. However, North Myrtle Beach was able finish the region slate 10-0.
Jude Hunt’s squad clinched the region championship Tuesday against Socastee.
Chiefs’ senior India Farmer had a double-double by halftime and ended her night with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Classmate Taylor Allman had 19 points, and junior Ja’Quella Livingston had 11.
Myrtle Beach’s Ta’Sheona Chestnut led the way for the Seahawks, finishing with 12 points.
North Myrtle Beach will play the No. 4 seed from Region VI-AAAA Monday at home, and the Chiefs will enter the postseason on a 13-game winning streak.
Myrtle Beach – which finished second in the region – will play host to the Region VI-AAA’s third place team. That game will also be played Monday.
•NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (51)
– India Farmer 19, Taylor Allman 17, Ja’Quella Livingston 11, Sarah McCloskey 4.
• 3-point goals: North Myrtle Beach 3 (Allman); Myrtle Beach 3 (Chestnut 2, Sumpter). Team fouls: NMB 10, MB 18. Fouled out: Brown. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: North Myrtle Beach 22-2, 10-0 Region VII-AAA; Myrtle Beach 16-9, 7-3.