Just call them the Summerville Survivors.
The Summerville girls basketball team has overcome opponents and adversity to reach tonight’s second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs. Suspensions, illness and injuries haven’t been able to slow down the Green Wave, who put their 11-game winning streak and 20-5 record on the line against Aiken.
The Green Wave advanced with a 69-59 victory over West Florence on Monday night as Kwanza Murray scored 27 points to rally her team from a five-point deficit.
“Monday night was only the second time all year we have had all 12 girls in the lineup,” coach Matthew Legare said. “We have suffered through a multiple-game suspension, several illnesses, and three major injuries, all to key contributors.”
But the team bonded, and many of the players talk about their teammates as family.
“Even in hard times, we’ve become stronger,” said Heather Chapman, who averages 8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
“The team has such a good family bond. That’s the biggest thing we have going for us.”
The Green Wave breaks the huddle by chanting “family.”
“As we’ve gutted this year out we’ve really emphasized to them that you can’t just break the huddle with family, wear it on practice gear or whenever else it’s convenient,” Legare said. “It’s the difficult times that really make a family strong. The fact that they’ve really bought into that is why we’re having a successful season.”
The team does more than play together. They also pray. Summerville has a weekly bible study that players do on their own time. They even post a prayer request list on the locker room board.
“We’re strong,” Chapman said. “We believe in God and that he is watching over us.”
Murray, who had 27 points Monday night, leads the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game while averaging 5.8 rebounds. Zuri Green is averaging 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. Tinara Brown also has had a key role in the Green Wave’s success with 7.0 points, 3.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game.
“We’ve been through a lot,” Green said. “We had to become tougher. We knew if we could get through the stuff that happened to us off the court, we could win any game. Winning the first playoff game was our statement. Summerville is underrated when it comes to basketball. We want people to know who we are as a team and family.”
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @PandCPhil