The Hawks opened postseason play and guaranteed itself three more games on Tuesday. Myrtle is the fifth seeded team in this week’s Region 2-1A tournament, but that was not the focus going into its first game against Ashland.
“We looked at it from the standpoint that there are some pretty good teams in this division, and we’ve beaten some pretty good teams,” coach Jonathan Ashley said. “It’s all about us, really.”
Darius Dukes paced the Blue Devils early on, scoring eight first quarter points, but Myrtle held the two-point advantage after free throws by Robert Montgomery put the Hawks up, 19-17. Montgomery later connected on a three-pointer that extended the Hawks’ lead to 10, 39-29, at the break.
“I thought it was a great team effort, but on an individual note, he is a special kid.” Ashley said of the junior. “Whatever we need him to do, he does it, and he’s made those shots for four years, so we wouldn’t expect anything different.”
Dukes got Ashland back within single digits in the third, scoring 12 points in the frame, but was held to only five points in the fourth. Ashley credits this to junior Darius King.
“He probably didn’t score much, but he stayed under Duke’s chin in the second half; cooled him off. His effort, we don’t win without him,” he said.
Montgomery finished with 25 points to lead Myrtle (17-11), while Keon Hampton added 15 points, Jonathan West 13 points and Cruz Weatherall 12 points.
Dukes led Ashland (10-18) with 33 points.
The Hawks advance to Thursday’s division semifinals, playing Coldwater at 5:30 p.m.
Also advancing to Thursday’s semifinals is Ingomar, 62-47 winners over West Union.
The Eagles stayed close in the first half, with Drew Wooten tying the game at 10 and Hunter Jennings giving West a brief 14-13 lead.
Ingomar, led by Henry Foster, went up by 10 in the second quarter, and pulled away in the third, with Matt Hale scoring seven of the Falcons’ 17 points in the frame.
Hale finished with 17 points to lead Ingomar (16-12), followed by 15 points from Henry Foster and 11 points from Steven Foster.
Chase Taylor led West Union (6-18) with 14 points.
Ingomar will play H.W. Byers at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Myrtle 47 Ingomar 29 (girls)
Myrtle coach Chris Greer credited his team for fighting in its first tournament game against Ingomar. Noting the number of times the two teams have met this season, Greer is happy to see his team advance to Thursday’s semifinals.
“Tonight, we just feel like, we’ve played Ingomar three times, this was the fourth time, so it’s tough,” he said. “We just have to do a good job of getting back to play Byers, play hard the entire game and see how it turns out.”
The Lady Hawks jumped to a quick 11-0 lead with three-pointers by Halle Knowles, Meshay Cox and Kiana Judon. Mallory Adair made it an eight points game, 16-8, later in the first, but Myrtle was too much, led by 19 points from Aspriona Gilbert.
Cox finished with 10 points for Myrtle (26-4), while Kate Webb led Ingomar (9-19) with 12 points.
The Lady Hawks will play H.W. Byers at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Lady Lions defeated Myrtle, 68-49, earlier this season.
In the other girls’ semifinal, West Union’s season ended at the hands of Ashland, 82-49.
The Lady Blue Devils opened scoring the first seven points, prompting a quick timeout by West Union. The Lady Eagles came within five, 19-14, but that preceded an 8-0 run by Ashland, and the Lady Eagles were outscored 25-5 in the remainder of the second quarter.
Damertis Anderson led Ashland (9-16) with 27 points, followed by Alontra Tucker with 19 points, Jaliyah Godwin with 12 points and Raquetta Allen with 10 points.
Samantha Bridges led West Union (6-15) with 24 points, while Gracen Conlee added 10 points.
In Region 1-2A action on Tuesday, East Union boys defeated Hatley, 93-26, while the Lady Urchins’ season came to an end, falling 53-45 to Hamilton.