Athlete of the Week: Chiefs riding hot hand of Grissett

When the games are on the line for the North Myrtle Beach boys basketball team, so is senior guard Jaquan Grissett.

The Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week has led the Chiefs to first place in the Region 7-3A standings with his high-scoring performances, and he’s helped pull several games from the fire with his clutch free throw shooting. But he’s spreading the credit around like a true leader.

“It’s my teammates getting the ball to me more and the coaches drawing up plays for me,” Grissett said. “I’ve got (sharpshooting twins Matt and Josh Lindsey) stretching the defense and there’s lots of room to drive and dish or shoot. It’s not just me.”

But it’s no coincidence that Grissett started to find his stroke about the same time the Chiefs started playing their best basketball of the season. Grissett recalls the second game of region play last month as the turning point.

“It was the St. James game, our home opener in the region, and we really wanted to beat them on our home court and try to take early control of the region,” Grissett recalled. “They were ranked No. 1 (in the CBCA poll) and we were No. 2, so we wanted to prove we could beat them.”

North Myrtle Beach did just that, thanks to Grissett’s career-high 32 points, including a 15-for-17 performance from the foul line that helped hold off the Sharks down the stretch. Grissett and the Chiefs have been on fire ever since.

“That was the game where we really started to see what kind of team we can be,” Grissett said. “Now I feel like we want it more and we playing smarter. We all know what we’re capable of doing and we’re starting to show it.”

Grissett’s last three games look like a Kobe Bryant line score out of an NBA box score, scoring 28, 25 and 26 points. Unfortunately for him, the 28 came in the Chiefs’ lone region loss of the season to Myrtle Beach.

“We didn’t play our best, but they played a great game,” Grissett said of the Seahawks, who shot 50 percent from 3-point range in the win. “We learned a lesson that night. … not to look too far ahead and take it one game at a time.”

The lesson has apparently hit home for the Chiefs, who are coming off key region wins over Socastee and St. James, which saw Grissett connect on 9-for-11 foul shots. The impressive run has North Myrtle Beach ranked No. 7 in Class AAA at 15-5 overall, and in first place in the region at 5-1.

“It feels like everybody is starting to jell right now, and it’s the perfect time to do it, at the end of the region and getting ready for playoffs,” he said. “This is my last year so I want us to go as far as we can.”

– Photo by Digital Magic Photo

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