By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – There was no dramatic comeback this Friday night for the Myrtle High boys basketball team.
Last Friday night, the Hawks had to rally from seven points down in the fourth quarter against H.W. Byers to secure a spot in the MHSAA Class 1A state semifinals.
This time around, in the semifinals, Myrtle just couldn’t overtake Dexter in the end, falling 72-68 to the Bulldogs on Friday night in front of 850 fans at the Mississippi Coliseum.
“You gotta give them credit,” said Hawks coach Jonathan Ashley, whose team pulled to within three in the final 25 seconds. “They made some big buckets when it mattered the most and we couldn’t find a way to get one to fall.”
After trailing 23-16 at the end of the first quarter, the Hawks went on a 16-5 run to take a four-point lead, 32-28, by the three-minute mark of the second period. Myrtle hit 4 of their 7 first-half 3s during that stretch.
The Hawks, however, converted just one more 3-pointer in the game. Heriah Dodson, Nick Milsap, Cruz Weatherall and Russ Yates each knocked down two 3s on the night.
The teams entered their respective locker rooms tied at 36 at halftime.
Myrtle led 48-44 with 2:43 left in the third quarter, but ended up down by one, 52-51, at the end of the period.
The Hawks rallied from six points in the final period to take a 64-61 lead with 2:55 left, but the Bulldogs then went on an 11-4 run to take control of the game.
Robert Montgomery scored a game-high 28 for Myrtle (21-18), while Dodson ended up with 14 and Weatherall and Yates each had 10.
Ron Harvey led the Bulldogs (23-6) with 20 and Chris Cooley added 15.
“They don’t know but one way to play,” Ashley said about his team’s resiliency. “If we had given up (at any point this season), we would have been through a long time ago.
“That’s just a testament to them and their parents and everybody else that had anything to do with them. They’re just a resilient bunch. They keep coming back.”