Just when the Hawks thought they were set to advance to the boys championship of the Union County Tournament, Ingomar made a late run to almost top Myrtle in the final minute of their semifinal game Friday night.
Ahead by 10, 62-52, Myrtle only held on for a three-point win, 69-66 after Ingomar closed the game outscoring the Hawks 14-7, nine points off three-straight three pointers.
“In the last minute, up by 10, we showed what not to do to win a basketball game with missed free throws and letting them shoot uncontested three pointers,” Myrtle head coach Jonathan Ashley said. “This is the Union County Tournament, and it’s always close, as I’m sure it will be the same way when we play them again next Tuesday night.”
Ingomar held the early advantage, leading 13-7 with nine points from Wesley Jumper. After a timeout by the Hawks, Robert Montgomery paced a 6-2 run to close the gap to only two, 15-13 heading into the second quarter.
Myrtle used the free throw line, connecting on 6-of-8 from the charity stripe in the frame to take the lead. After five ties and five lead changes, the Hawks went on a 7-2 run to end the half ahead 29-24.
The Falcons remained within six points throughout the third before going on a 9-0 run. Jumper tied the game at 38 with his free throws and gave Ingomar a 41-38 lead moments later on a three-point play. Cruz Weatherall and Russ Yates helped Myrtle regain the lead and a basket at the buzzard by Tanner McCollum made it a one-point game, 44-43, heading into the fourth.
After Yates opened the final eight minutes with a three-pointer, the Hawks gradually built the 10-point lead before Steven Foster connected on two three pointers and Jumper made it a 68-66 game with 1.7 seconds remaining. Nick Milsap added the final point for the Hawks, who will now face New Albany in the boys championship Saturday night.
“We’ve got to make good shots, block out and show lot of effort,” Ashley said of facing the Bulldogs. “When we get a good shot, we’ve got to be successful. You don’t beat a team that good and that well coached and that athletic without doing a lot of things right, and we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did tonight.”
Montgomery led the Hawks with 25 points, while Yates added 16 and Weatherall scored 13 points. Ingomar was led by Jumper’s 27 points, 15 from McCollum and 11 from Steven Foster.
Coach Brad Gray’s Bulldog squad advanced to their second straight UCT final after defeating East Union, 80-49 in the other semifinal.
The Urchins cut their early deficit to 10 off a three-pointer by Kirk Fryar at the end of the first quarter. New Albany pulled away in the next frame, using a 10-0 run to go ahead 38-18.
East Union was outscored 22-10 in the third, but still connected on nine triples in the loss.
“They shot the ball well, but I think our depth hurt them,” Gray said. “Anytime you play Coach McDonald and his squad, doesn’t matter if they play five or six guys, those guys are going to play hard and with their best effort. We were fortunate to have a little more depth than them.”
Tadarious Coburn led New Albany with 24 points, followed by 14 from Moses Kingsley and 10 points from Malcom Spears. The Urchins were led by Drew Bruce and Chris Tables with 11 points each.
A more focused New Albany hopes to see a better result in this year’s title game after falling to Ingomar in the 2010 championship, 88-67.
“A lot of these guys played in that championship last year, and they experienced the heartbreak of losing that game. They don’t want to have that again,” Gray said. “We’re just going to come out no matter who we play and do what we do. Regardless, it’s going to be a dogfight. Anytime you play a Union County rival, you’d better be prepared.”
The 2011 UCT boys championship will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
New Albany 66 Ingomar 46 (girls)
Round three of the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Hawks is set after New Albany put away Ingomar in Friday’s first game.
Kebrina Lucas connected on three triples in the first quarter, as the Lady ‘Dawgs jumped to a 29-6 lead. A tough defense by New Albany held the Lady Falcons to single digits in each of the first three quarters, and Ingomar found themselves down 62-20 heading into fourth.
With New Albany’s starters resting, Ingomar scored 26 points in the fourth quarter, led by eight points from Kayla Stevens. Stevens finished with 14 points for the Lady Falcons, while Shelly Grisham led the team with 18 points.
Porche White scored a team-high 15 points for New Albany, followed by 13 from Lucas.
New Albany and Myrtle will square off in the girls final at 6 p.m. on Saturday.