By Adam Gore/GoreSports.net
MYRTLE – It’s rare to call a freshman a clutch performer, but Myrtle’s Robert Montgomery earned that label on Saturday night in the Hawks’ 54-50 overtime victory over Ingomar in the Class 1A North State championship.
“Sometimes I forget and everyone else forgets he’s just a freshman,” said Myrtle’s Coach Johnathan Ashley. “He still makes mistakes but he can change a game too.”
Myrtle (28-5) saw an eight-point advantage turn into an three-point deficit when Ingomar (27-6) took a 41-38 lead on a layup by Matt Purvis with 2:08 left in the fourth quarter.
Montgomery answered by knocking down a long-range jumper and sinking a free throw to tie the game 41-41 with 1:51 left.
“I thought we were probably done, but Robert made a play and hit the free throw to tie it up and that gave us a new life,” said Ashley.
The host Hawks saw their chances third-straight North State Championship slipping away when Tyler McCollum connected on a lay-up to give Ingomar a 43-41 edge with 39.2 seconds left to play.
Montgomery raced down the floor to connect on another jumper to force the game into overtime tied at 43.
Myrtle raced to a six-point edge in OT before Ingomar fought back to make it a 53-50 game with 26.3 seconds left.
Montgomery put the game on ice with a free throw.
“He struggled a little bit from the line earlier, but he goes to the line with a lot of confidence and I felt good with him being there with the game on the line,” said Ashley.
Montgomery paced the Hawks with 14. Zach Carnell scored 16 for Ingomar.
Myrtle makes its fourth-straight state tournament appearance when the Hawks play runner-up McAdams at 2:30 in Jackson on Friday. Ingomar will take on South champion Durant at 10:30 a.m. on Friday