Division 2-1A girls title game follows familiar script

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

MYRTLE – H.W. Byers coach Jason Thompson knows there’s one common theme in his team’s games this season against Myrtle.
“Two points,” he said. “Every game has been decided by two points.”
Thompson’s Lady Lions earned the two-point differential Saturday night when they defeated Myrtle’s Lady Hawks 54-52 to win the Division 2-1A Tournament championship.
Myrtle won the second game of the regular season, 53-51, on this court. H.W. Byers won the season’s first meeting, 52-50, on its court.
Even the players have come to expect these nail-biting Nike-to-Nike wars.
“I could feel it was going to be close from the start,” Myrtle sophomore guard Jenna Jordan said.
It was Jordan’s 3-pointer, seconds following a steal, that cut Byers’ lead to 48-47 with 42 seconds remaining in regulation.
Halle Knowles tied the score with 23 ticks left on a free throw. She later had an opportunity to seal the win for the Lady Hawks, but missed on a layup and a putback as the regulation horn sounded.
In overtime, Myrtle suffered a couple of costly turnovers while Byers got a huge 3-point play from reserve Laniqua Collins to take a 53-51 lead.
Jordan’s 3-pointer had given the Lady Hawks a 51-50 advantage.
“It basically amounts to lucky breaks and good fortune,” Byers’ Thompson said. “We got the lucky breaks and the good fortune to go our way tonight.”
Myrtle coach Chris Greer certainly didn’t care for the loss, but he enjoyed the spirited battle.
“If we get put out with a game like this, I can live with it. I can sleep at night,” he said. “Both teams could have won all three.
“Tonight was a good game. We can’t play anybody tougher than Byers.”
Myrtle (25-7) hosts Pine Grove at 7 p.m. Monday in the elimination round of the North Mississippi tournament while Byers (23-8) entertains Falkner.
Alexis Hardaway and Kyra Gulledge scored 13 points apiece to lead Byers. Abria Gulledge added 11 and Kourtney Coleman 10.
Aspriona Gilbert scored 18 and Keanna Cox 11 for Myrtle.
(B) H.W. Byers 56, Potts Camp 52: The Lions got blanced scoring in their championship win from Shantez Hearn 11, Darion Cunningham 10 and Mitchell Wilson 10.
(B) Ingomar 64, Myrtle 63: Steven Foster’s 18 points led the Falcons to a comeback win in the consolation game. Ingomar trailed by as many as seven points in the final quarter.
(G) Ingomar 56, Potts Camp 54: Kayla Stevens scored 21 to lead the Lady Falcons in consolation play. Both teams travel Monday for their North half games.
n Game summaries, Page 2B