MURRELLS INLET – The St. James boys’ varsity basketball team fought hard but ended up coming up a little short, falling to Myrtle Beach 55-43 at the Shark Tank on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
“I think his (Myrtle Beach head coach Craig Martin) depth hurt us down the stretch,” Sharks head coach Chris Tibbits said. “I got two guys that aren’t playing that are in my top six, and I went through a few other guys, but they played hard. We played very hard on defense.”
Tibbits knows what his team needs to work on going forward.
“Our problem is that when we’re worn out at the end, we kept giving them second chances,” he said. “Like their big guys came in and hurt us down low and then when we had some open looks that we really needed to knock down, we had some chances at the basket (and) we had some wide open looks off the three (point line) that we didn’t hit. Like if we were going to beat them, we would’ve had to shoot really well, and we didn’t shoot real well.”
Despite the loss, Tibbits is still impressed with his team’s growth.
“I’m going to give my kids a lot of credit for how far they’ve come,” he said. “For being a new coach and asking them to do a lot and increasing the intensity, they’re becoming a very good team. I think every game this year, even our losses, they were competitive. I’m very happy with the way our kids played against, I mean, I think they’re one of the best 4A teams in the state.”
The loss dropped St. James to 10-6 on the season.
Senior wing Ethan White led the Sharks in scoring with 15 points, junior guard Dillon Haire and senior wing Candido Ortiz-Robles III both had eight and junior guard Jeremiah Nesbitt added seven.
Martin gave St. James a lot of credit for giving his team a tough game.
“St. James is tough,” he said. “St. James is playing hard and playing together and doing a real good job of getting those kids to play the right way.”
Martin was happy with the way his team played but also knows his team can get better.
“I think a lot of it just has to do with our guys are pretty good at what they do,” he said. “They play hard they scrap, they get after it and I think we just had a few more kids than what they had. But they (St. James) competed the whole game and that’s a testament to what they’re trying to do over here and it’s a good thing. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to get better on the little things, but for the most part, I think it’d be turnovers and just getting a few easy shots at the basket when they missed a few and we made a few and that was kind of the change in the game.”
Myrtle Beach improved to 9-5 on the season with the win.
Darius Hough led the Seahawks in scoring with 14 points, James Marques had 10 and Emorie Knox and JJ Jones both added eight.
The Sharks led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter, but Myrtle Beach took a 28-21 lead going into halftime by outscoring St. James 21-8 in the second quarter.
St. James cut the lead to 32-29 with 5:21 to go in the third quarter by going on an 8-4 run that included a jumper and a layup from Haire and layups from White and Ortiz-Robles.
However, Myrtle Beach closed the quarter on a 9-3 run to take a 41-32 lead heading into the final frame.
The Sharks outscored the Seahawks 6-2 to start the quarter with a layup from Haire and four free throws from Nesbitt to cut the lead to 43-38 with 6:30 to go in the game.
But that’s as close as the Sharks would get.
Myrtle Beach closed the game out on a 12-5 run, with eight of those points coming from four Jones layups.