For all the excitement at the end of regulation, the North Myrtle Beach girls basketball season came to a slow, drawn-out end.
The Chiefs fell to Crestwood 60-49 in overtime Monday while one of the team’s best players sat on the bench and the Knights’ All-State selection made free throw after free throw.
“Losing your last game definitely hurts,” North Myrtle Beach coach Jude Hunt said. “Our seniors have been with me. I first started working with them six years ago. I spent a lot of time with these girls. I knew this was an important game for us. I hate it for them, more than anything. I just hate that we didn’t get it done.”
The Chiefs had a five-point lead with a little more than one minute to go before Crestwood’s Keauna Williams connected on a 3-pointer. Williams then stole the in-bounds pass and converted an open lay-up to tie the game. Each team scored once more leading up to Daniquia Lewis’ lay-up with 3.8 seconds remaining.
North Myrtle Beach then got a length-of-the-court pass to Marci Chestnut – who connected on a lay-up of her own with less than 1 second remaining – to force overtime.
However, while the Chiefs were able to get into the extra period without India Farmer on the court, their luck ran out there.
In overtime, Lewis, named to the Class AAA All-State team last week, hit nine of her 10 free-throw attempts. It was more than enough to put an end to North Myrtle Beach’s season at 24-3.
“I just wanted them to know that I was going to take my team to victory,” Lewis said. “We have a goal of winning a state championship.”
Hunt was less than thrilled with how Farmer’s career ended.
She was whistled for her fifth foul with 1:38 to go in regulation while attempting to take a charge. There was plenty of contact, and officials deemed it a defensive foul.
“After that mysterious block call under the basket and she fouled out, we were in a bind at that point,” Hunt said. “I thought we had enough to finish it. But we made a couple silly mistakes there in the last minute.”
Crestwood got a rare road victory in the Class AAA girls playoff bracket. The Knights move on to Saturday’s Lower State championship to play Orangeburg-Wilkinson.
For North Myrtle Beach, it was the team’s fourth loss at home over the past two seasons. The Chiefs were 23-3 at home during that span. Two of those losses came in the Shootout By The Sea tournament – one to Scotland (N.C.) last season and this season’s loss against Goose Creek, one of the top-ranked teams in Class AAAA.
The third was last year to St. James, the squad that eventually won the region title.
The Chiefs earned the region championship this season. But after three playoff games, the season has come to an end.
“We should have,” Hunt said, “been able to take that home.”