By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TREMONT – The Tremont Lady Eagles felt they could contend with Myrtle center Aspriona Gilbert, but there was no gameplan for Halle Knowles.
The Myrtle Lady Hawks guard poured in a game-high 37 points, helping her squad to a 77-50 victory Monday in first-round action of the Class 1A North state tournament.
“Halle Knowles has been good all season, but tonight she was great,” Myrtle head coach Chris Greer said. “I asked her after the game where’s she been all year.”
With the victory, the Lady Hawks are through to the quarter finals of the 1A North, earning the right to host games on Thursday through Saturday. Myrtle will play Falkner at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Early on, an Emalee Yielding basket for Tremont made the score 2-2, then Knowles and the Lady Hawks took off.
Myrtle (27-6) went on a 17-0 from that point, with Knowles scoring 13 of those points. The Myrlte guard went on to score 18 in the quarter as the Lady Hawks improved to a 29-6 lead.
“Myrtle came out and punched us in the mouth,” Tremont head coach Louie Riddick said. “We might could have stayed with Myrtle if they were one-dimensional, but after that first quarter, their confidence level was just too high.”
The focus of most teams facing Myrtle, Gilbert, was having her own success against the Lady Eagles.
The Myrtle center posted a not-too-shabby 26 points, 20 in the first half, as the Lady Hawks built a 48-18 lead by the intermission.
“I told the girls that if we get beat, I wanted them to play their best,” Greer said. “Tonight, I think we did.
“We still did some bad things tonight, so we’ve still got to play 32 minutes.”