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N. Myrtle Beach High School
Little River

Lady Chiefs look to get healthy for stretch run

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Little River – Once healthy, the North Myrtle Beach girls basketball team might be good enough to make an extended run in the upcoming Class AAAA Lower State playoffs.

Getting healthy will be the key to any late season success for the Chiefs. The team played most of last season without their best player, Jenna Berger, who was hindered with a recovering torn ACL.

Berger returned to top form this season, averaging about 20 points per game. The Chiefs looked like one of the state’s top teams, losing only once through December.

The injury bug struck Berger again in early January when she developed appendicitis, which put her on the shelf for a few weeks. The Chiefs are surviving however, posting a 12-2 record overall and a 2-1 mark in early region 6-AAAA games.

“Our focus is just getting healthy and getting back into that good rhythm,” coach Brooke Smith said. “We have a few out right now but they all will be back. I think at full strength we’re definitely a good team. We had to regroup a little when Jenna went out but we have seen some other players step up. We’re only going to get better as we get them all together.”

One player who has stepped up is Jordan Berger, Jenna’s twin sister. Jordan Berger has picked up the slack offensively with several outings over 20 points and is averaging about 17 points per game on the season.

Junior Daveona Hatchell, a returning starter from last season, is a solid contributor with eight points and nearly 10 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Riley Vincent adds about eight points per game and is consistently connecting on three-point shots. Sophomore Adaiah Vereen has evolved as a top-notch defender, according to Smith.

“We’ve had to play some other girls more of late and they are gaining valuable experience every night, which will give us better depth,” Smith said. “I’ve had a seventh-grader (Destinee Vereen) and an eighth-grader (Carlin Sharpe) out there a lot of late. They are stepping up.”

Surviving a very competitive region schedule is the first order of business. Region six is again very balanced with every team capable of winning a game on any night.

North Myrtle Beach finished second in the region last year but was victim to a first-round upset loss to A.C. Flora, ending their season prematurely. Smith hopes to avoid such an early exit this postseason.

“Losing last year was very disheartening because we had high hopes and high expectations for that team,” the coach said. “I think we learned a lot from that. I think this team also has learned to deal with some adversity this year. We’re getting through it fine. We just want to be playing our best at the end of the season and see if we can make a run.”

 

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