By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
ENTERPRISE – Myrtle’s real challenge comes Tuesday when it travels to top-ranked H.W. Byers for a key Division 2-1A game.
However, the Lady Hawks (21-0) had some pressing business to address on Saturday night.
Myrtle, behind four players scoring in double figures, tuned up for its division road battle with a 58-36 victory against rival New Albany in the championship game of the Union County Tournament at West Union High School.
In the boys’ championship game, New Albany held off a second-half charge by Ingomar to capture the title trophy with an 88-80 win.
Myrtle raced to an 18-8 first-quarter advantage and built a 34-12 halftime lead.
“I thought we did a good job getting out to a big lead,” Myrtle coach Chris Greer said. “We shot the ball well. Our thought we relaxed a defense a little and we allowed Jazmine (Spears) to get some easy buckets.”
New Albany’s Spears, the Daily Journal’s 2011 Player of the Year, recorded a double-double with 27 points and 15 rebounds. She was the lone player in double figures for the Lady Bulldogs (8-9).
Myrtle countered with its 2012 Player of the Year candidate, Aspriona Gilbert, a 6-foot senior post player and Austin Peay State signee, who scored a team-high 22 points.
Jenna Jordan added 12, Meshay Cox 11 and Halle Knowles 10 for the winners.
“They had a great second quarter; I thought it was the difference in the game,” New Albany coach John Stroud said.
Greer’s team is ranked No. 3 in the state in its classification while its 2-1A rivals – H.W. Byers and Coldwater – are ranked No. 1 and No. 2. Byers is ranked No. 9 in the overall state rankings.
“Byers will be our biggest test,” Greer said. “We’re not worried about going undefeated. If we’re going to lose, I want to lose playing the best.”
(B) New Albany 88, Ingomar 80: Daniel Drummond scored nine of his game-high 27 points in the final six minutes to lead the Bulldogs (12-7).
Ingomar (11-11) trailed 57-42 with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter before rallying to cut New Albany’s lead to 59-57 with a 15-2 run.
Drummond “only shoots shots he can make,” a relieved New Albany coach Brad Gray said. “We got rattled a little bit, but we held it together long enough to win.”
Steven Foster led Ingomar with 25 points.