Myrtle and Grenada struggled shooting in the morning game of the O-Town Showdown on Saturday, but the Lady Hawks finally woke up with just over two-minutes left in the third quarter to pull away from the Lady Chargers for a 50-43 win at Oxford High School.
“Grenada looked like a D1 team with their size and that caused us some problem early,” Coach Chris Greer. “I think our girls finally adjusted to how physical the game was being played towards the end of the third quarter.”
As expected Asprinoa Gilbert and Amber Williamson paced the Lady Hawks in scoring, but it was the play of the Keanna Cox, Diana Suarez, Halle Knowles, and Beth Goolsby that proved to make the difference in the ballgame.
Cox got Myrtle on the board with the Lady Hawks’ first basket coming at the 4:45 mark of the first quarter before Diana Suarez came into the game to provide a spark with a trio of steals and a lay-up to give Myrtle a 13-12 lead at the end of the first.
“Diana played really tough for us and we are going to need her to keep playing that way the rest of the season,” Greer.
The two teams battled their way to a 39-35 game in favor of Grenada before Amber Williams scored three of her ten third-quarter points with 2:15 left in third. Williamson stole the ensuing inbounds pass and buried a deep two-pointer. The Lady Hawks’ press led to another easy basket for Williamson that gave the Myrtle a 42-39 lead by the end of the quarter.
Grenada (9-7) hit on back-to-back baskets to take a 43-42 lead early in the fourth, but that would be all the Lady Chargers could do as Myrtle (17-3) went to their spread offense to give Gilbert room to work on the inside. Aspriona answered with a pair of strong baskets in the paint to start a 7-0 run that was capped off by a Beth Goolsby three-pointer to give the Lady Hawks the 50-43 victory.
“Amber and Asprinoa played well, but I thought Knowles and Goolsby really changed the ballgame for us by getting pressure on their guards and running our offense for us when we were trying to melt the clock with the lead,” Greer.
Goolsby’s three-point came at the five-minute and three-second mark of the final frame and the Lady Hawks guards were able to work three minuets and tewenty-three seconds off the clock before Grenada finally started fouling to extend the contest.
Friday: Myrtle 60 Olive Branch 59
Amber Williamson scored a game-high 22 points to help the Lady Hawks slide by the 5A Olive Branch Lady Conquistadors 60-59 in the opening game of the O-Town Showdown on Friday.
“We struggled because they kept us from getting in our offense, but once we got into our offense were able to score,” Greer.
Myrtle put the pressure on the Lady Conquistadors by spreading the floor and forcing them to foul early in the quarter. The Lady Hawks took care of business shooting 7-of-10 from the line in the fourth quarter
“We wanted to working on running the clock in these games… I thought the girls did a good job be disciplined enough to run the offense until we got something easy… we just have to make the easy shots when we get them,” Greer.
Asprinoa Gilbert scored 16, Keanna Cox 11, Diana Suarez 8, Rhagen Hopper added 3 points for the Lady Hawks.
The Lady Hawks will hit the road on Friday in hopes to avenge a 58-50 loss to the 14-0 New Albany Lady Bulldogs earlier in the season.