Athlete of the Week: Solomon Cooper, Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Seahawks have big hopes as the state playoffs started on Thursday.

"We've been playing together for a long time, I said eventually we would have gotten to this point," said senior guard Solomon Cooper. "I mean if you work hard then good things will come to you. We just stick to our plan and like Coach Martin says stick to the system and everything will work out."

Last season, Cooper led his team to the Lower State playoffs, upsetting then #1 seed Orangeburg-Wilkinson in the semifinals,falling short to Darlington in the following round by one point. However, Cooper says the team grew from that experience.

"We lost by one here and missed a free throw, turned the ball over, so you learn from your mistakes and you build on that," Cooper said. "That's what good teams do, they learn from their mistakes and they keep going."

And they did just that - on to a 19-6 record this season under the guidance of region Coach of the Year, Craig Martin.

"Coach Martin always used to tell me 'just relax' and let the game come to me and, I just settled down and (that) helped me a lot," Cooper explained. "It's not just basketball; he gives a lot of advice. He's the best coach I ever had and I've been playing for him for five years now and every time he makes me better every year. He makes me grow as a person every year and I just thank him for that."

Although bringing a state championship back to Myrtle Beach for the first time since 2008 is the ultimate goal, beating a heated rival in the process makes the journey just a little sweeter.

"Winning a region title with the players I grew up with, it felt good...and to get it against North Myrtle Beach felt a little better," Cooper said.

The Seahawks beat the Chiefs in a tiebreaking game on Tuesday evening, and then beat Berkeley 72-52 in the first round of the playoffs. Up next is defending 3A back-to-back champion Hartsville. Tip is set for Saturday at 7:30 at Myrtle Beach High School.

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