The Shallotte Middle School boys basketball team went 10-0 during the 2018-19 season and defeated host Cedar Grove 56-41 in the championship game of the Brunswick County Tournament on Thursday.
It was the third win of the season for the Pirates over Cedar Grove, which jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the final.
“I had to go to the press sooner than I wanted,” said first-year Shallotte coach W.A. Myatt, who played at Cape Fear Christian Academy and Triton.
The Pirates went full-court, man-to-man with the defender on the inbounder trapping on the first pass.
The pressure often led to transition baskets during the season for J.J. Cobb, who averaged a team-high 16.5 points. Post player Kevon Daniels had a 13.5 average.
The Pirates trimmed the lead to 10-8 by the end of the first quarter and were in front 21-18 at halftime. Shallotte led 40-33 going into the fourth quarter and was able to play the fifth-quarter team the last minute in the last period of the season.
The fifth-quarter team played a few minutes before the tipoff of regular-season games to get experience. On one occasion, the fifth-quarter unit produced an unanticipated hero.
Eighth-grader Cam Coble, who stands about four feet, 10 inches, came up big in the previous trip to Cedar Grove on Jan. 17. The Pirates trailed by two points with about 45 seconds left in regulation. Cobb was knocked to the floor and a defender landed on his knee, sidelining him for the remainder of the game with a bruise.
Someone on the bench had to come in to shoot Cobb’s free throws.
“We do pressure free throws in practice and Cam always did well on those,” Myatt said. “One guy is on the line and everybody else is on the baseline. If the shooter misses, everybody has to run.
“I was thinking about Cam and Jordan McCall, one of our players, said, ‘Put Cam in.’ That kind of solidified it in my mind.”
The fifth-quarter point guard hit both free throws and the Pirates were able to get their fifth win in the extra period.
Daniels scored 24 points in the tournament championship game and Cobb added 18.
“The guys had an ability to stay together and keep their composure when we faced adversity,” Myatt said. “They had talent and they worked hard.”
During the course of the season, the Shallotte players got better in the classroom, too.
“We had study hall after school before practice,” Myatt said. “Everybody’s grades went up — really proud of that.”
Success was rewarded. The team had a meal at Chili’s in Shallotte after the final game and principal Marie Laboy got the Pirates lunch from Zaxby’s on Friday.