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Myrtle Beach High School

Martin, Seahawks focused on strong finish

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Myrtle Beach – As it pertains to qualifying for the state playoffs in South Carolina, the only portion of the regular season schedule that matters is region play. Finish among the top four in your region, in Class AAAA, and a playoff spot is earned.

For Myrtle Beach boys basketball coach Craig Martin, the focus is winning the region 6-AAAA title and thus obtaining a number one seed in the Lower State playoff bracket. Martin traditionally loads up his team’s non-region schedule with teams that can help his team be at their best come region play.

Entering play on January 21, the Seahawks were 11-6 overall and 2-1 in region six play. Two of the early losses came in the prestigious Beachball Classic to a pair of nationally-ranked teams. The challenge of the early schedule has benefitted his team, Martin says.

“I definitely see us progressing as the season goes,” Martin said. “Our region is so strong, so competitive. We have to play games early against teams that are going to help us improve because we realize we have to be at our best once we get to region play. A lot of times we go into the region at .500 or even worse because of the schedule we play. I think it helps us prepare mentally and physically for what we are going to see in region.”

The Seahawks opened region play with wins over North Myrtle Beach and Darlington before dropping a game to Wilson. Marlboro County is a top 10 ranked AAAA team as well in the region.

“You have to come ready every single night in this region,” Martin said. “If you don’t bring your best effort, you get beat. It’s the toughest region in the state.”

The Seahawks are led this season by senior point guard Emorie Knox, a Charleston Southern commitment. Knox is averaging 22 points and five assists per game this season.

Backcourt mate Ayden Hickman, a junior, delivers 17.2 points per game and is a dead-eye shooter from long range.

Senior James Marcus is a top notch defender and junior Qualeek Burgess is a key rebounder and defender as well. Darius Hough and JJ Jones are contributors on the glass as well.

“We’re banged up some right now so the key for us is getting healthy down the stretch,” Martin said. “We really haven’t had a whole team available for a while now. We’ve been making changes from game to game, which makes it hard to find a good rhythm. When we are healthy, I think we’ve got a pretty solid basketball team. We look to finish strong in our region and hope to make a good run in the playoffs.”

 

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