Athlete of Week: Brandon’s move paying off for Sharks

sjsoc-haywood-brandon (2)Haywood Brandon’s difficult decision to play high school sports his senior year is having a profound impact on both the St. James boys basketball and soccer programs and him personally.

After playing soccer year-round for the Charleston Battery Academy, Brandon gave up the golden opportunity to play pro soccer for the chance to be a Shark. Over the past seven months, he has helped lead his teams to first-ever appearances in the Class 3A Lower State championship games.

“It was tough to leave because the games are a lot more serious there, and the lifestyle and travel, it was an awesome experience,” said Brandon, who was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week for leading the Sharks’ playoff run. “But playing with my high school teammates, it’s like a brotherhood. These last few months are something I will remember forever.”

After St. James’ miracle run in basketball ended in the Lower State final, Brandon had only one day to make the transition from power forward to goalkeeper. He posted four straight shutouts to open the soccer season and lead St. James to the the Michael Nash Memorial Tournament title.

“I didn’t get a day off. We lost to Darlington, practiced the next day and had the tournament,” Brandon recalled. “Playing basketball helped me with my footwork and foot speed, but there’s really nothing that can help you transition into a soccer ball coming at you full speed.”

As it turned out, Brandon didn’t need much time to adjust. He posted shutouts in 17 of St. James’ 19 wins this season, including playoff openers against Gilbert and Hilton Head. It was that second-round victory that kicked off a two-day bus trip across that state that ended with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Aiken and a program first berth to the Lower State title game.

“We got back from Hilton Head about 3:30 a.m. (Saturday), left for Aiken at 1 p.m. the same day, and then our bus broke down,” Brandon recalled. “We had to wait for another bus and by the time we got there we had about 10 extra minutes to warm up. We did a great job of handling it.”

Now the Sharks face a familiar foe in region rival Myrtle Beach. The two teams split the regular-season series and St. James won the Nash showdown, but this one will be for all the marbles. Brandon hopes to keep his and his teammates’ amazing run alive for a state title bid.

“It’s going to be tough to beat them on their field because they are so good at home on the (artificial) turf,” Brandon said. “But we seem to be playing our best soccer at the right time and everyone is playing together as a unit. We’re just going to keep playing hard like we have been.”

Win or lose, Brandon has already had an incredible senior year. Although he hasn’t yet decided about whether he will continue to play soccer at the college level when he attends Clemson next fall, he has already made memories and high school records that will last for years to come.

Photo by Tyler Watkins

Comments

comments

MB girls bounce AC Flora; face Wilson in Lower State

MB girls bounce AC Flora; face Wilson in Lower StateThe Myrtle Beach High girls basketball team has been battling [more]

Lady Panthers' playoff run cut short by Goose Creek

Lady Panthers' playoff run cut short by Goose CreekDespite a hard-fought match, the historic run of the Carolina [more]

Chants run out of magic, suffer first loss to Indiana

Chants run out of magic, suffer first loss to IndianaIndiana, ranked 17th nationally, scored once in the seventh to [more]

CCU's Adams claims third Player of the Week award

CCU's Adams claims third Player of the Week awardJas Adams of the Coastal Carolina women’s basketball team was [more]

St. James' Knaffle, White receive major golf honors

St. James' Knaffle, White receive major golf honorsAfter leading the St. James High girls golf team to [more]

Chants post back-to-back, 10th-inning walk-off wins

Chants post back-to-back, 10th-inning walk-off winsFor the second straight game, Coastal Carolina (3-0) scored a [more]

Boys Playoffs: Tigers ride Wave into 5A LS semifinal

Boys Playoffs: Tigers ride Wave into 5A LS semifinalThe Conway High boys basketball team punched their ticket to [more]

NMB crowns 2 Lower State champs; CF, MB qualify 5

NMB crowns 2 Lower State champs; CF, MB qualify 5The North Myrtle Beach wrestling team crowned two Lower State [more]

Green comes off bench, leads Saints' playoff win

Green comes off bench, leads Saints' playoff winThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team needed [more]

CCU Hoops: Chants sweep USA in Senior Day thrillers

CCU Hoops: Chants sweep USA in Senior Day thrillersOn Senior Day, it was fittingly a senior-to-senior connection that [more]

Chants rally past Sooners on Wood's walk-off in 10th

Chants rally past Sooners on Wood's walk-off in 10thWith bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of [more]

5A Girls Playoffs: Panthers roll into Lower State semis

5A Girls Playoffs: Panthers roll into Lower State semisThe Carolina Forest girls basketball team are headed to the [more]

4A Girls Playoffs: Big win keeps Seahawks at home

4A Girls Playoffs: Big win keeps Seahawks at homeThe Myrtle Beach girls basketball team had to battle to [more]

Chants overpower Hokies; face Sooners on Saturday

Chants overpower Hokies; face Sooners on SaturdayPreseason All-American Kevin Woodall Jr., had a career-high six RBI [more]

Lacrosse gaining ground on Strand's sports scene

Lacrosse gaining ground on Strand's sports sceneThere was a time not so long that students who [more]

CCU football names Isaac new running backs coach

CCU football names Isaac new running backs coachCoastal Carolina head football coach Joe Moglia announced the hiring [more]

CCU Hoops: Trojans edge Chants; Adams scores 40

CCU Hoops: Trojans edge Chants; Adams scores 40Jaylen Shaw's game-high 18 points were not enough as Coastal [more]

4A Boys Playoffs: Chiefs, Seahawks fall in openers

4A Boys Playoffs: Chiefs, Seahawks fall in openersSecond-seeded Myrtle Beach saw its season come to an end [more]

5A Boys Playoffs: Tigers make history; Braves win

5A Boys Playoffs: Tigers make history; Braves winFor the first time in nearly a quarter-century, the Conway [more]

Chants set to open season with Baseball at the Beach

Chants set to open season with Baseball at the BeachOn Friday, the 2018 NCAA Division I collegiate baseball begins [more]

5A Girls Playoffs: Panthers erupt; Tigers win at Wando

5A Girls Playoffs: Panthers erupt; Tigers win at WandoOnly hours after learning she had been named the Class [more]

4A Girls Playoffs: Chiefs hit road running; MB stays hot

4A Girls Playoffs: Chiefs hit road running; MB stays hotPlaying in a tough region has its perks. One of [more]

Strand cleans up Class 5A Player of the Year awards

Strand cleans up Class 5A Player of the Year awardsFor the first time since the SCHSL went to five [more]

Saints solve Titans to take region tournament crown

Saints solve Titans to take region tournament crownThe third time proved the charm for the Christian Academy [more]

Conway, Sumter share top All-Region 6-5A accolades

Conway, Sumter share top All-Region 6-5A accoladesConway High's Jimmy Nichols was voted Region 6-5A Player of [more]

MB girls bounce AC Flora; face Wilson in Lower State

MB girls bounce AC Flora; face Wilson in Lower StateThe Myrtle Beach High girls basketball team has been battling [more]

Lady Panthers' playoff run cut short by Goose Creek

Lady Panthers' playoff run cut short by Goose CreekDespite a hard-fought match, the historic run of the Carolina [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach