By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
MYRTLE – Halle Knowles sat crying on the floor of H.W. Byers’s gymnasium after last Friday’s Division 2-1A Tournament consolation game.
Her Myrtle Lady Hawks had just lost to Ashland, falling to a No. 4 seed entering the state playoffs.
Things weren’t any better on an individual note either for Knowles. She scored a below-average 11 points in the loss.
“We wanted to be in a better position and not be the four seed,” she said of her thoughts that night.
After how this week has turned out, however, Knowles and her teammates have to like the position they’re in.
Myrtle claimed their second straight victory of the postseason by defeating Falkner 87-65 on opening night of the Class 1A North tournament.
The Lady Hawks will host Byers in a semifinal at 7:30 p.m. tonight with the winner earning a trip to next week’s state tournament.
Knowles was all smiles this night after leading her team with a game-high 36 points. Her performance proved huge, with fellow senior Aspriona Gilbert in foul trouble during the second half.
“Halle pulled us out,” Myrtle coach Chris Greer said. “She’s underrated. When she puts her mind to it I’ll put her against anybody in the state.”
Gilbert made her impact before fouling out with three minutes to play in the game, adding 15 rebounds to 32 points.
Myrtle (28-6) opened the game with 28 first quarter points, 19 of those scored by Gilbert, to set the tone in what turned out to be a high-scoring game.
“We couldn’t stop Aspriona in the first quarter, and that hurt us,” Lady Eagles coach Jeremy White said. “Then she (Halle) decided to pick up a little bit.”
Knowles scored 14 points in the second to help the Lady Hawks increase their lead to 50-34 at halftime. Falkner (16-10) did not get any closer in the second half.
Breanna Williams led four double-digit scorers for Falkner with 17 points.
(G) H.W. Byers 81, Shaw 41: The Lady Lions held Shaw (15-11) to 11 points in the second half. Abria Gulledge scored 26 for Byers (25-4), while Krystal Nailer scored 31 of the Lady Hawks’ 41 points.