Athlete of the Week: Lewis, Seahawks seek 2nd shot

Myrtle Beach High junior Mason Lewis still remembers the pain of last year’s loss in the Class AAA state championship game.

But he doesn’t dwell on it. Lewis is just happy that he has another chance to make up for it, and another chance to go out on top.

“We try not to talk about it too much because we don’t want to look too far ahead,” said Lewis, the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week. “But as far as using it for motivation, I think about it a lot.”

Rewind 11 months to the Class AAA state title game, when the Seahawks jumped out to a 1-0 halftime lead and, with a proven senior goalkeeper in net, appeared to be 40 minutes from claiming the state championship.

But Eastside struck for a pair of goals in the second half and shut down the Seahawks’ offensive attack to steal the state title out from under Myrtle Beach’s noses. It’s a feeling Lewis and his teammates don’t want to experience again.

“They came back and turned it on and we didn’t respond,” Lewis recalled. “I don’t think we slacked off, but we didn’t play with the intensity we needed to.”

So it’s with that motivation that Lewis and the Seahawks seek a return trip to Columbia and another shot at a state championship. Although it’s a long road back, Myrtle Beach is already taking the first steps.

After a relatively slow start to the season, the Seahawks may have turned the corner during a recent trip to Columbia for another tournament – the Airport Select Invitational.

In the same town where Myrtle Beach’s season came unraveled last year, the Seahawks seemed to come back together to claim the tournament championship in a field of 18 schools, including some of the top programs in the state.

“At the first of the season it didn’t feel like we were on the same page yet,” Lewis said. “We had all the pieces in place but we just hadn’t put them together yet.

“That’s why the Airport tournament was so big for our team. I don’t think some people thought we could win it. Last year we lost in the semifinals, so it was a big confidence-builder for our team.”

Lewis scored goals in each of the Seahawks’ first four wins in the tourney, helping them reach the title game against rival Socastee. Myrtle Beach prevailed 2-1 and it hasn’t been the same team since.

“This is a different team,” Lewis said. “We have a new goalie and some new players in leadership positions. We lost two captains from last year’s team so everyone has had to pick it up.”

The Seahawks return to region play Monday night against North Myrtle Beach, knowing that the journey to a state title begins with winning their region and getting hot in time for the playoffs.

But they also have that added bit of motivation with the sour taste of a near-miss state title still in their mouths.

“We want another shot, and I feel like we have a good chance,” Lewis said. “Now that we have the chemistry going, we just have to stay on a roll.”

Photo by Katheryn Wylie

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