By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
MYRTLE – Union County basketball, go figure.
The Myrtle Hawks did not get to the championship game of the county tournament Saturday, but use a balanced attack Tuesday to down the champion Ingomar Falcons 64-56 in a key Region 2-1A contest.
What is there not to love about basketball in that county?
“I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the three of us,” said Myrtle coach Jonathan Ashley of championship participants Ingomar and New Albany, and his Hawks. “I have no way to explain this other than perhaps Ingomar had to play Saturday, and we got to rest.”
Not only was this another chapter in the various rivalries within the county, Myrtle (17-4, 5-1) handed Ingomar (18-3, 5-1) its first loss in 2-1A play, tying the two teams for first with the season winding down.
“I think we’re a much better team than we showed tonight, but Myrtle had something to do with that,” Ingomar coach Norris Ashley said. “I’ve been in this game long enough to know that after a big win Saturday, you have to watch out your next game.”
After a second-quarter Hawks surge, the Falcons had recovered and tied the score at 43-43 on a pair of Clay Kidd 3-pointers in the third quarter. But the Hawks closed the period with a Jimel Judon basket and a Will Gregory 3-pointer for a 49-43 lead.
Ingomar could never really curb the Myrtle momentum in the fourth quarter, and 10 successful Hawks free throws, along with solid defense, helped to thwart any Falcons comeback.
“Someone told me after the game that we had a 15-2 run, and asked ‘When?’ ” Jonathan Ashley said. “This game was going to come down to whoever made plays and shots, and we did.”
The run Ashley could not remember occurred to begin the second period, and included a 9-0 spurt that gave the Hawks a 26-19 lead.
Russ Yates had couple of key 3-pointers that helped him lead Myrtle in scoring with 15 points, while Zack Carnell powered in 22 to pace Ingomar.
(G) Myrtle 71, Ingomar 44
While some pre-Christmas injuries kept the Lady Hawks (10-11) under the radar, they are rounding into shape as the season comes to a close.
There was less than a minute to play in the first quarter when Ingomar converted its first field goal, by which time Myrtle led 25-3. The Lady Hawks finished out the half with a 49-21 advantage.
Aspriona Gilbert powered in 17 for Myrtle, while Reid Little hit 22 for Ingomar.