Myrtle’s run at perfection came to an end on Tuesday at the hands of H.W. Byers in a highly anticipated divisional showdown that did not have one of Byers’ top players in Alexis Hardaway, who was out with a high ankle sprain.
While the game was close early on, Myrtle fell out of sync as Jenna Jordan went out in the first quarter with an injury and Aspriona Gilbert was on the bench late in the second quarter with three fouls.
“They just outhustled us, and we didn’t play good tonight,” coach Chris Greer said. “They did a great job and were fired up and ready.”
Byers fought back from an early 8-3 deficit, going on a 17-3 run to end the first quarter up 20-11. Gilbert helped the Lady Hawks fight back in the second, scoring nine points, and Halle Knowles briefly tied the game at 24.
But for every run Myrtle had, Byers had an answer in Kyra Gulledge. The senior put Byers ahead once more and controlled the boards with 20 rebounds (10 offensive, 10 defensive), giving the Lady Lions multiple second chance opportunities in the post.
“We knew coming in that they would hit the boards,” Greer said. “Our effort was okay, but we didn’t fight like we normally do.”
Byers went ahead 39-30 in the third quarter, and Meshay Cox would get Myrtle back within two, 40-38, but the Lady Lions answered with a 9-0 run and did not look back, going on to outscore Myrtle, 19-9, in the fourth quarter.
Gilbert led Myrtle with 18 points, followed by 11 from Knowles.
Along with her 20 rebounds, Kyra Gulledge, along with Jusice Martin, had 15 points, followed by 12 points from both Abria Gulledge and Richenda Crutcher.
At 21-1, 1-1, Myrtle looks ahead to its next divisional match-up, on the road at Ingomar on Friday. For the Lady Hawks, it is all about returning to what has brought them success so far this season.
“This sure would make me want it more, so we’ll find out if they want it more on Friday night,” Greer said of his team. “We’re going to be okay. We’re going to readjust, and hopefully we’ll play them again.”
The Hawks also fell to 1-1 in division play after a 71-55 loss to the Lions. Myrtle hopes to avenge a loss to Ingomar in last weekend’s Union County Tournament, going on the road Friday night.