Beach Ball Classic Lives Up to Its Name

By Paul Gable

The Beach Ball Classic recently completed its 39th year in classic style.

Dorman claimed the championship making it the second South Carolina team to win the event.

And Dorman was the class of the Beach Ball, playing a style of basketball that goes back to the beginnings of the tournament in 1981. The Cavaliers defeated St. Johns of Washington, D.C. by a 69-60 count in the final.

Eau Claire of Columbia is the only other South Carolina team to win the title. The Shamrocks defeated Archbishop Molloy of New York in the 1986 final. Eau Claire was known for playing a full court pressing defense the entire game. It was a team effort from start to finish.

Dorman played a tight man to man defense for most of the game denying the inside to St. Johns and always having three to four players in position for rebounds.

The most impressive part of the Cavaliers game, however, was their offense. St. Johns is known for pressing defense itself, but Dorman point guard Myles Tate is just too quick to press tight. In addition, the entire Dorman team passes the ball extremely well. At times the Cavaliers moved the ball the entire length of the floor with five passes and no dribbling at all. It was a lesson in how basketball at its best is still played.

Dorman center P.J. Hall was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament. Tate and Justin Amadi were the other Dorman players named to the All Tournament Team.

The Beach Ball Classic is one of the premier high school holiday tournaments in the nation. It began in 1981 as an eight team tournament played at Socastee High School. The first winner was Christ the King from New York City.

Top high school competition is on hand every year. Teams from as far away as California and Nevada have claimed the title. In years past, the tournament has also had an international flavor with teams from Canada competing several times throughout the 39 years.

I personally haven’t covered the Beach Ball Classic since 2008, I attended my first one in 1983. However, I still watch selected games on the national internet livestream sponsored by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Horry Telephone Cooperative and produced by Lucky Dog Television Productions.

Future professional players are a typical part of the Beach Ball. Through the years, I have personally seen Jermaine O’Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Grant Hill, Kenny Anderson, Vince Carter, Raymond Felton, Kobe Bryant, Jimmy Jackson, Jason Kidd, Danny Ferry and Myrtle Beach’s own Ramon Sessions perform as high schoolers before they eventually moved on to long careers in the NBA.

Two other delights I had the privilege to interview in years past were legendary high school coaches Morgan Wootten of DeMatha Catholic and Jack Curran of Archbishop Molloy. The two coached seven Beach Ball Classic champions between them.

There have been many changes in my 36 years in Horry County and certainly not all of them for the better. One thing I can still count on for top quality entertainment that typically exceeds expectations is the Beach Ball Classic.


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