Win number 18 may have been difficult, but not only did the Lady Hawks prevail, they gained valuable experience playing in only its second close game of the season.
“We played good, and that’s the first time this season that we’ve seen a true man-to-man,” coach Chris Greer said. “I thought Aspriona (Gilbert) did good, and Jenna Jordan not only hit some big three’s for us, but she did a good job of guarding Kaelin Kneeland. I thought it was a good game.”
Against Center Hill on Saturday, Myrtle found itself trailing by four, 14-10, after the first quarter, but went on an 11-0 run that began with a three-pointer by Kiana Judon as the first period expired. After taking the lead in the second, the Lady Hawks only gave up the lead once, leading to a 53-52 win.
With Jasmine Golden scoring 10 first quarter points for the Lady Mustangs, Myrtle stepped up defensively, holding Center Hill to only eight second quarter points. The Lady Hawks opened the second half with a 6-0 run and consistently held that margin until late in the fourth quarter. Center Hill came within one, 49-48, off a free throw by Ciera White, but Jordan quickly responded with a three-pointer.
Despite being 11-of-24 from the free throw line, one made by Halle Knowles gave Myrtle the lead, 53-50, and the win, despite a last second shot by Center Hill just inside the three-point line.
Gilbert finished with 17 points, followed by 13 from Jordan and 10 points from both Meshay Cox and Knowles.
The win marks the second time Myrtle has defeated an opponent by one point this season, with the last one coming against Belmont on Nov. 29. Outside of those two games, the Lady Hawks have defeated its opponents by an average of 21 points.
Myrtle will jump into division play on Tuesday against West Union before next weekend’s Union County Tournament. After the UCT, a tough slate awaits the Lady Hawks, as they will play three of the next four division games on the road beginning with H.W. Byers on Jan. 17.
“I’m worried about every division game, because anything can happen,” Greer said. “We have got to work on making free throws and blocking out. If we can do those two things, that will cut down on a lot of our mistakes.”
Myrtle 71 Center Hill 65 (boys)
The Hawks overcame a second quarter run by the Mustangs, pulling out a six point win on Saturday.
After leading 22-16 after the first, Myrtle was held to 13 second quarter points, and the Mustangs took the lead, going on a 6-0 run to open the frame.
Robert Montgomery put the Hawks back in front in the third quarter and led by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter.
Montgomery finished with 26 points, followed by 14 points from Jonathan West and 13 from Keon Hampton.