Lady Seahawks seek 3-peat with a new supporting cast

If the Myrtle Beach Lady Seahawks hope to three-peat as Class AAA state champions, they will have to do it without three key pieces of last year’s puzzle.

With Shatia Cole, DJ Hunter and Keyaurna Wilson moving on to the college ranks at Coastal Carolina, Myrtle Beach has several holes to fill to remain a title contender.

But the two main pieces – guard Khadijah Sessions and forward Tanisha Brown – will be back to help the Lady Seahawks seek a third straight state crown. And make no mistake about it – a starting lineup with those two and three warm bodies is a pretty formidable five.

“They are two highly talented players that are going to play Division I college basketball in the future,” said Myrtle Beach coach Brian Kiper.  “We are going to have to rely on their play-making abilities as well as their leadership.”

Sessions, a highly recruited senior who has narrowed her list down to three schools – South Carolina, Auburn and Florida State – averaged 18 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals per game last season.

Brown, who also is getting some college looks, averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds per game last season, but the rest of the roster is light on experience given the departures of three players to CCU.

Kiper is counting on newcomers Martina Ballestero and Christiana Myers to help fill the voids, but he needs some height inside to compensate for the losses. Junior Cameron Crutchfield also won’t be suiting up for the Lady Seahawks this season after suffering a concussion in soccer.

“Our weakness is going to be our lack of height and our lack of experience/depth,” Kiper said. “To be successful, we are going to have to box out as a team and develop other scoring options so teams will not be able to double and triple team Khadijah and Tanisha.”

Kiper is trying to recruit all-Region Volleyball Player of the Year Meagan Milligan to the basketball court after the 6-footer led the Lady Seahawks to a Class AAA state runner-up finish in volleyball. She previously played basketball before transferring from Florida but has been leaning toward focusing only on volleyball.

The Lady Seahawks, who open their season on Nov. 29 at Lake City, have a lofty act to follow after last year’s 25-5 overall record and 10-0 sweep of Region VIII-AAA. But with two core returning starters and some help from newcomers, don’t be surprised to see Myrtle Beach back on top again.

Myrtle Beach Girls Basketball Roster

No.        Name            Height        Grade

5          Najae Grant        5’3”        11

12        Nakia Black          5’6”         9

14        Khadijah Sessions    5’8”        12

15        Tyrenda Sutton           5’7”        10

20        Martina Ballestero    5’7”        12

21        Tasha Chestnut           5’2”        11

22        Christiana Myers    5’7”        11

32        Katy Campman           5’9”        10

33        Tanisha Brown           5’11”        11

43        Kardejah Anderson      5’9”        10

44        Jessica Roberts            5’8”        12

* For full schedule, visit: http://mbh.horrycountyschools.net/athletics/basketball___girls_varsity/

Photo by Keith Jacobs

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