By JOHN SMITHSON
The North Myrtle Beach boys varsity basketball team was 1-1 in two 6AAAA region games last week, winning a thriller last Tuesday 36-32, then losing 48-35 at West Florence last Friday night.
The Chiefs lost to Wilson 53-44 on Jan. 6, and the Tigers came into Tuesday’s game with a 16-5 overall record in first place in the region with a 6-0 record. After winning the tipoff, the Chiefs missed a shot, while the Tigers quickly scored two baskets for a 4-0 lead with 6:41 on the clock. Nineteen seconds later Wells Hill hit a three from the left corner to cut the lead to 4-3.
Josh Leonard’s three upped the Wilson lead to 6-3 but Cash Brown’s three tied it 6-6 near the four minute mark of the first period. Jamie Brooks drove for a score and Brown hit a jumper in the lane for a 10-8 Chiefs lead with 3:11 left. The Chiefs TJ Stanley rebounded a shot back in and Josh Surigao muscled in a basket for a 14-8 lead with 1:50 on the clock. Memel Burgess slammed a two-pointer to make it 14-10 Chiefs after one period.
The Tigers second period began with a missed shot, and they remained scoreless for over half of the period. The Chiefs, meanwhile, got a steal and layup by Moses McCain at 6:57 on the clock, and following a technical foul called on the Wilson coach, Noah Louder scored a put back basket for an 18-10 Chiefs advantage. Brooks drove for another basket and Louder another put back two for a 22-10 lead with 3:40 left in the first half.
Wilson finally got untracked, scoring six straight points to pull within six at 22-16 with two minutes left. Brooks kept up his first half scoring with a two-point jumper in the lane and a drive to the basket for two more, while the Tigers closed the half with three straight missed shots, and the Chiefs ran to the locker room leading 26-16.
The Chiefs continued their tight defense throughout the third period. A Brown basket kept the Chiefs ten point lead at 28-18 with 5:30 on the clock. Wilson scored a basket with 4:11 left but not another point until a jump shot with .5 seconds left in the period. The Chiefs only points the rest of the period were scored on another three-pointer by Hill with 1:10 on the clock. The Chiefs led 31-22 after three periods.
Despite the furious action on the court by both offenses, fourth period points were hard to come by. Wilson added a basket about a minute into the period and a free throw with 4:02 left, and a 31-25 Chiefs lead. The Tigers scored on a long two-pointer to cut the lead to 31-27. Brooks added a basket and Burgess a three-point play and it was 33-30 with 2:12 on the clock.
After a Chiefs timeout, Connor Henley scored on the inbounds play after the timeout, getting free for the pass and run to the basket for a 35-30 lead and two minutes left in the game. Wilson missed two free throws, but after the Chiefs missed a shot, Burgess scored for Wilson to trail 35-32.
The Chiefs took another timeout with 1:12, then when almost trapped, used another timeout with 46.7 seconds left. Wilson got the ball back and after the Tigers timeout with 24.2 seconds left and another possession change, the Tigers fouled Cash Brown with 9.5 seconds remaining. Brown made his first free throw, missed the second, but Wilson couldn’t score after that and the Chiefs had upset the Tigers 36-32.
Coach Ryan Walker reflected over recent games. “Well, we were shell-shocked by our recent rival game. But for them to bounce back against a really good and tough team, that young group, man, they were resilient tonight, even without scoring the ball well.”
Asked about getting off to a good lead in the game, Walker talked about their start. “We haven’t been able to get off to good starts all year. But they did it tonight. They made shots, tough ones. We didn’t back down. A team like that, they’re good, they’re bullies. They are used to winning and they usually toughen up. So, it was a good win,” Walker concluded.
The Chiefs got important contributions at different times in the game. Hill had two key threes in the first and third period. Brown scored eight timely points. Henley made a key basket on an inbound play and four points in the fourth period. Brooks contributed eight first half points and Louder’s four points in the second period made a big difference.
Last Friday night the Chiefs traveled to West Florence. They recently had an “almost” game with the Knights when they lost 41-38 at home.
On Friday the Knights made sure the Chiefs didn’t get close, using a 17 point second period and 14 point fourth period to beat the Chiefs 48-35.
This week the Chiefs faced Hartsville Tuesday and then go to South Florence tomorrow with a rematch with the Bruins. They were 11-11 and 4-3 in region play after last week’s games.