Hoops Preview: Intracounty rivalries open first full week

cfhoops-yurachekFollowing a few Thanksgiving tournaments and leg-stretching openers, the high school basketball season kicks into high gear this week on the Grand Strand with several key showdowns involving local teams.

One of the most intriguing matchups involves an intracounty clash between St. James and host Conway, which saw its girls team claim a surprise win in the Lady Braves Sand & Hoops Invitational behind an impressive performance by eighth-grader Zakera Chadmon. The young Tigers lost Region 6-4A Player of the Year Reggie Bonner and a pair of all-region selections. Conway visits Myrtle Beach on Friday.

The girls game will be a rematch of the Sand & Hoops title game between the Lady Tigers and Lady Sharks, who suffered a 34-31 loss but return a balanced lineup led by Kelsey Bachmann and Bethany Goodrich. The Sharks have no returning starters, so role players Dakota Holmes, Tyus Goodman, Josh Roper and Jackson Hurston will have to step up their games this season.

Another intracounty showdown sees Carolina Forest visiting North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday. NMB’s boys and girls are defending Region 7-3A champions, but the Lady Chiefs lost standouts Taylor Allman and India Farmer and the Chiefs lost Region Player of the Year Jaquan Grissett but return twins Josh and Matt Lindsey.

The Carolina Forest girls must replace leading scorer Marisa Runyon while the boys return seven players from last year’s squad, including senior Ryan Yurachek and juniors Will Brunson and Zavier Jones. The Panthers hit the ground running this week, hosting Carvers Bay on Wednesday and traveling to Socastee on Friday for their third game in four days.

The Myrtle Beach boys are still missing several key players to the Class 3A state championship game-bound football team. Still, the Seahawks’ boys and girls basketball teams will get things started Tuesday night at Mullins before holding their home openers Friday against Conway.

Also on Tuesday, defending SCISA Class A champion Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach travels to public-school power Waccamaw. The Saints lose SCISA Player of the Year Kendall Henry but return six seniors from last year’s state title team. Five of them saw extensive action, and all-region sophomore Bernard Jones is back at point guard. The Lady Saints return a solid corps of young players.

On Wednesday, Socastee gets into the action with a trip to Loris. The young Lady Braves struggled in their home tournament but got some solid play from Mia Angelo, Shayla Baldwin and Kira Bell. The Braves are operating under first-year coach DeAndre Scott, who replaced Hall of Famer Tommy Johnson. Point guard Dylan Thompson and transfer/small forward Koel Cutler look to lead the Braves, whose home opener is Friday against Carolina Forest.

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