Top sports stories of 2013: MB’s state title run tops list

mbfoot-statechamps2Is it really almost 2014 already? Seems like yesterday we were watching the Beach Ball Classic and rooting for former Myrtle Beach High star Everett Golson and Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game.

The time may have flown by, but the local sports scene gave us plenty to cheer about in 2013. No matter the season, Grand Strand sports fans had lots of reasons to brag about their schools’ teams.

Here’s the top 10 sports stories from 2013. If narrowing it all down to 10 wasn’t tough enough, ranking them was even harder. But all 10 are grand and, unlike other local lists, actually happened on the Strand:

1) Surging Seahawks: State football championships are no strangers to Myrtle Beach, but 2013 started out as one of the worst seasons in recent history. After going 1-3 out of the gate, including a loss to a Carolina Forest team that didn’t win another all year, the Seahawks went on to win 10 of their next 11, including road wins over three No. 1 seeds. The last one came in Myrtle Beach’s thrilling 24-21 victory over No. 1-ranked and undefeated Daniel in the Class 3A state championship game on Sean Huggins’ last-second field goal to give Myrtle Beach its seventh state title and third in six years.

2) Moglia Magic: The unimaginable continued at Coastal Carolina, and this time the multi-millionaire CEO-turned-coach led the football program to new heights. The Chants were ranked as high as No. 3 nationally, repeated as Big South Conference champs and advanced to the FCS tournament quarterfinals after defeating Bethune-Cookman at home and Montana on the road in sub-zero temperatures. The Chants finally ran out of mojo (or is it Joe-Mo?) against two-time defending national champion North Dakota State, but finished 12-2 and raised the bar on expectations for what next season might hold.

3) Saints Go Marching: The Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team got a new gym to play in, and to hang their latest SCISA Class A state championship banner. Led by SCISA Player of the Year Kendall Henry and a strong supporting cast, the Saints rolled through private-school play and even knocked off a few public schools along the way. CAMB won its fourth state title in six years.

4) Year of the Braves: At a school previously known for basketball, Socastee made major strides in virtually every other sport in 2013. The wrestling, baseball, softball and boys soccer teams reached the Lower State finals, the cross country and swimming squads posted strong finishes, and the football program enjoyed its second straight record-setting campaign with a region championship and 12-1 record.

5) Lady Saints Sing Praises: Everybody loves a good comeback story, and the CAMB volleyball team wrote the perfect script. After falling to Cathedral Academy 3-2 in a hard-fought 2012 SCISA final, coach Alex Sing and the Lady Saints spent the whole season focused on returning and avenging the loss. Tey dd exactly that, defeating Cathedral in a dramatic 3-2 tiebreaker to capture the first state title in program history.

6) Hail to the Lady Chiefs: After winning the Class 3A state title in 2012, the Lady Chiefs traded one Allman for another – losing Player of the Year Taylor to graduation and welcoming back sister and alum Erica as coach. Despite the turnover, NMB returned to the state finals before falling to Eastside.

7) Lady Seahawks Hold Court: The Myrtle Beach High girls tennis team was THE state power program for decades but had lost that title to Lower State rival Hilton Head in recent years. The Lady Seahawks recaptured that label by defeating the six-time state champs and nearly won their 14th state title.

8) Kickin’ Chickens: The Chanticleer men’s soccer program has established itself as a national power in recent years, but 2013 saw them take the next step. Coastal shut out East Tennessee State and Charlotte in the NCAA tournament to reach the Sweet 16, the deepest any Big South team has advanced.

9) Lady Sharks’ Tee it Up: The St. James girls golf team had little to hang its hat on in the dozen years since the school opened, but a young team changed that in the fall. Led by eighth-grader Smith Knaffle, the Lady Sharks claimed their first region title and made strong showings in the Lower State and State tourneys.

10) Ballin’ on the Beach: This year’s list saves the highlight of the local sports calendar for last with the start of the Beach Ball Classic. After a strong field for the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational girls tournament and the Carolinas College Shootout featuring a top-15 showdown between North Carolina and South Carolina, the main event, the Beach Ball Classic promises another spectacular way to close the curtain on 2013.

Happy New Year! Let’s do it again in 2014.

Photo courtesy of MBHS Athletics

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