Myrtle fell just shy of a trip to Jackson, and the careers of four seniors came to an end after H.W. Byers held on for a 50-43 win on Friday.
Having won the first two match-ups this season by 19 and 23 points respectively, Byers seemed well on its way to a repeat performance, ahead by 10 points in the second quarter. The difference this time was the tenacity and drive of the Lady Hawks, which went on an 8-0 run and eventually cut the Lady Lions’ lead to two, 25-23, at the half.
Coming out in the third, Meshay Cox gave the Lady Hawks its first lead, 26-25, off a three-pointer, and Myrtle led by as much as five in the frame, led by eight points from Aspriona Gilbert.
Kyra Gulledge and Madison McCreless put the Lady Lions back on top, and Byers held a 39-38 edge going into the fourth.
Not looking back, the Lady Lions scored 11 straight to go ahead, 50-38, and held Myrtle to only five points in the fourth.
“We played our hearts out, but Byers just played a little better,” coach Chris Greer said. “Got to give credit to Coach Thompson and his players. We missed some shots in the first half, but we left it all out on the court. I thought we played very hard, and we didn’t quit tonight.”
Gilbert finished with a game-high 17 points to lead Myrtle, while Richeda Crotcher led Byers with 10 points.
For Myrtle, the careers of its stellar senior class come to an end. As a group, they went 110-38 over the last four seasons, making it to the state tournament in 2009 and 2010 and finishing as state runners-up in ’09.
“These seniors had a great career, and they’re going to be missed,” Greer said. “Everyone can’t win, but I can look in the mirror and know I gave it all I’ve got and this team gave it all they’ve got.”
Myrtle ends its season at 28-7. Byers will play Coldwater for the 1A north half championship at 7 p.m. at Myrtle on Saturday.