The North Myrtle Beach High School boys and girls varsity basketball teams have started the season 3-0, with two road wins last week and a first home win Monday night at home.
Last Tuesday the Lady Chiefs began their campaign with a 53-25 win at Carolina Forest. Coach Brooke Smith was very pleased with the results. “Almost our entire team put points on the board. Leaders were Jenna Berger with 12 points and Jordan Berger and Jamisha Moss with 8 points apiece.
The Lady Chiefs then traveled to Loris last Friday and the result was about the same, a 51-25 win. Jenna Berger once again led the scoring with 22 points. Jordan Berger had 13 points and the team’s freshman point guard had 7 points. Coach Smith said “both were great team wins holding our competition to under 30 points.”
The boys team under new coach Ryan Walker also got off to a strong start, first winning 49-46 at Carolina Forest, then beating Loris 54-49. Walker also was quite happy with the first to road wins. “The guys played extremely hard to open the season against Carolina Forest. A strong team defensive and rebounding effort led us to victory,” Walker said.
Top performances in the Carolina Forest game were led by Kymani Knox with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Javi Marlowe with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists and Cameron Gore- Gause with 7 points and 5 rebounds.
Monday night the Chiefs opened their home schedule with two more wins against visiting West Brunswick.
Jenna Berger got the scoring underway with a basket after fighting for a loose ball, then followed with a foul shot for an early 3-0 lead for the Lady Chiefs. Jordan Berger scored next with an assist from Jenna Berger, who then stole the ball and made a driving layup for a 7-0 lead at the 4:31 mark of the first quarter. Jenna Berger then converted two foul shots for a 9-0 advantage. Late in the quarter West Brunswick finally scored a basket but that was all their scoring in the quarter, while the Lady Chiefs added six more points for a 15-2 first quarter lead.
Adaiah Vereen scored first in the second quarter on a layup to make it 17-2. West Brunswick added a foul shot and basket before Jenna Berger scored on a breakaway. Jordan Berger interrupted a period of Chiefs defense and turnovers by both teams to make it 21-5. West Brunswick added a basket but the half ended on a steal and layup by Jenna Berger with less than ten seconds left and the Lady Chiefs firmly in control by a 23-7 score.
The third quarter began with Jordan Berger and Daveona Hatchell taking over. First Berger scored on a layup with an assist from Hatchell, followed by another Berger-Hatchell score, and then a basket by Hatchel for a 31-7 NMB lead. Berger drove for another basket and two free throws by Riley Vincent made the score 35-11.
With 2:21 left in the third quarter the game came to a scary halt. With the Lady Chiefs driving to the basket, West Brunswick’s Madeline Hankins fell to the court and lay on her back. The Chiefs medical trainer went to her assistance and kept her stationary while first responders were called. After several minutes, medical responders arrived and carefully placed a neck brace on Hankins and lifted her onto a stretcher for a trip to a local medical facility. Both teams, coaches, players and cheerleaders, gathered in a circle at the West Brunswick bench for silence and a prayer.
When play did resume, there was no additional scoring and the NMB lead remained 35-11.
The fourth quarter was all North Myrtle Beach. The Chiefs defense held West Brunswick to four points, while the Lady Chiefs used three layups by Jordan Berger, one a dandy reverse layup, a three-pointer from Hatchell, as well as an assist and a basket and foul shot from Jenna Berger and a last minute basket from Adaiah Vereen for a 51-15 victory. Jordan Berger had 20 points and Jenna Berger 14 to lead the Lady Chiefs.
Coach Brooke Smith saw the key to victory was defense. “We were great on defense. We ran a man-to-man defense with lots of pressure. We communicated well, made exchanges when we needed to, shut down their drives, kept a hand in their face and boxed out well. Our goal is to hold teams to under 30 points. We did that and won,” Smith said.
The boys game that followed was a lot closer in scoring but still a 55-49 Chiefs win.
Javi Marlowe got the Chiefs started early with a layup, and several minutes later Kymani Knox hit a basket at the 5:40 mark for a 4-0 Chiefs lead. West Brunswick’s Jadyn Parker scored their first three points on a foul shot and a layup or a 4-3 score. Cameron Gore-Gause hit a jumper from the foul line and Cameron Henley nailed a three-pointer from the side for a 9-5 Chiefs lead. Henley added a foul shot and Tyree Smith got a tap-in rebound basket to give the Chiefs a first quarter 12-5 advantage.
West Brunswick scored the first basket of the second quarter, followed by a Travis Collins jumper at the 6:45 mark and a 14-7 Chiefs lead. Following a Trojans bucket, Chad Beasley made two foul shots and Henley a layup for an 18-9 Chiefs lead. Following two quick West Brunswick baskets and a Chiefs timeout at the 3:18 mark, the teams traded points, with Gore-Gause driving for two and then hitting a shot from the left of the foul lane on a good assist from Vereen for a 22-14 score. West Brunswick got closer with two baskets in the final minute and at halftime the score was 25-21 Chiefs leading.
The Trojans’ Jadyn Parker drove for two baskets early in the third quarter but the Chiefs responded with Beasley’s driving layup and a three-pointer from Tyree Smith. Beasley drove for two baskets in a row and the Chiefs lead was 34-27. Javi Marlowe got a follow-up rebound basket, while the Trojans added three baskets down low and a foul shot for a 36-34 NMB advantage. West Brunswick seemed to have some momentum until Jadyn Parker was called for travelling, didn’t like the call and was given a technical foul. Marlowe made two foul shots for a 38-34 lead and the two teams traded points to end the quarter with the Chiefs leading 43-39.
West Brunswick scored the first four points of the fourth quarter but the second basket turned out to be a killer for the Trojans. As Parker dunked the shot that tied the game at 43, he hung on the rim as the Trojan crowd roared its approval. That approval turned to boos when Parker received a second technical foul and was ejected from the game. The Chiefs got two technical foul shots from Beasley and a jumper from Collins to go up 47-43. Missed shots and turnovers allowed the Trojans to get close at 47-45 but their other scorer, J’Vian McCray, fouled out at the 4:13 mark, and the Trojans depleted offense couldn’t come back.
The Chiefs used five made free throws and a Beasley drive to score enough points for the 55-49 victory as they ran out the clock, keeping the ball away from West Brunswick for the last 55 seconds.
Coach Ryan Walker following the game stated that he was “excited. The guys have worked super hard. Everything seems to be coming together for us. We certainly didn’t play bad defensively and if we continue to stay focused on what we have been working on we will be fine. The kids have bought into the program and that shows up in our play. We need to continue our good play and improve every game,” Walker said.
The Chiefs have two more home games this week, a rematch with Carolina Forest on Tuesday and a game against Loris Friday.