The North Myrtle Beach High School Lady Chiefs third round lower state playoff game with North Augusta last Monday may have ended their season, as the Lady Yellow Jackets advanced by a 75-60 score, but it certainly won’t diminish the accomplishments and memories of the 2019-2020 season.
The Lady Chiefs opened their season with a 38-35 loss to Goose Creek in the FTC Lady Gamecock Tip Off Classic. They then won eleven straight games, mostly non-region and tournament games before losing in a holiday tournament to Sumter. They began their region play with a win over Myrtle Beach on Jan. 10 before losing only three region games, two to region winner Wilson and one loss at Darlington but winning the rest.
The Lady Chiefs second loss to Wilson on Jan. 28 was their last loss until North Augusta beat them in round three of the playoffs. North Augusta has won three straight championships. To put it another way, graduating seniors on the team will have four championship rings if the Lady Yellowjackets win this weekend in Columbia.
The Lady Chiefs entered this year’s playoffs as the number 2 seed in their bracket, beat number 4 seed South Aiken at home, then travelled to Bluffton where they beat the number 1 seed to earn the right to play North Augusta for a chance at the lower state game in Florence.
Coach Brooke Smith has spoken about how the team has come together in the playoffs and played some of their best basketball all year. Last Tuesday she spoke about how tough a challenge it was to meet a team like North Augusta. “Of all the teams we faced this season, this was certainly the toughest team we faced. They had multiple weapons as we do too, but ours certainly came up short last night. We fought hard and gave it every ounce of heart we had till the end, but North Augusta is a great team. I would not be one bit surprised if they win the state championship again this year. They are certainly a powerhouse and pushed us to put up 60 points against a good team. Any other team and we are winning that game,” Smith said.
Smith also had thoughts on the season and the players. “It is always hard to end a season but this particular one was a hard one. I have been together for many years with the Berger twins and knew there would be a day I would have to say that number 23 and 31 would be worn by somebody new. I just didn’t want it to come this soon. These young ladies have inspired and transformed this program into something special and will never be forgotten. Our program will rebuild and come back right in the hunt. We are happy for the great memories we made this season and will continue to shine as a Lady Chief,” Smith concluded.