Ingomar evened its division record after holding on for a 68-62 win at Myrtle on Friday.
After losing to Coldwater on Tuesday, Falcons coach Jonathan Ashley stressed the importance of not falling to 0-2 in division play, and his team responded, led by a 20 point performance from Devonte Williamson.
“I told them at the half that with five division games, it’s better to be 1-1 and not 0-2, because we would definitely like to be on the 2-3 side of the bracket instead of on the side with Coldwater,” Ashley said. “They’re the defending state champs, and they have a lot of their guys back, so if you can keep from playing them until the championship, you’ll be a lot better off.”
Leading 15-13 after the first quarter, Myrtle stayed within one point throughout the second quarter, taking the lead at 25-24 on a basket from Keon Hampton. The Hawks led by that margin at the half, but Williamson gave the lead back to the Falcons early in the third. Down by five, Montgomery brought Myrtle back, tying the game at 34, but that preceded an 8-0 run by the Falcons that the Hawks could not recover from.
Montgomery led all scorers with 32 points, finishing 20-of-22 from the free throw line.
“It’s a very tough loss,” Myrtle coach Cliff Ormon said. “We wanted this division win, but Ingomar played great defense. They challenged on the boards, and I thought that was big. We couldn’t get our shots to go in, and I credit Ingomar with a lot of that. I think we tried so hard, but we didn’t finish.”
Henry Foster finished with 19 points for the Falcons (12-8, 1-1), followed by LaQuain Foster with 10 points. Hampton finished with 19 points for Myrtle (11-7, 1-1).
Ingomar 36 Myrtle 29 (girls)
The Lady Falcons improved to 2-0 in division play, but it was not easy in a 36-29 win over Myrtle.
Ahead 15-7 after the first, the Lady Falcons were held to only one point in the second quarter, while Meshay Cox helped bring the Lady Hawks back, scoring 13 of the team’s 16 first half points. Geneshia Montgomery tied the game at 16 at the break, and as a team, Myrtle outrebounded Ingomar, 19-6, in the first half.
“I just told them to block out,” Ingomar coach Trent Adair said of his team’s halftime adjustments. “Earlier this week, we put ourselves in a good position, beating Coldwater and then we come over here and nearly get outdone.”
“I told them that was the pivotal game (Coldwater) that could turn Ingomar girls back in the right direction, and then I told them at the half tonight that this is the game that can turn us right back in the bad direction.”
The two teams traded the lead to open the third, and Little put the Lady Falcons up for good on one of her three triples in the second half. Nakicia Kimble cut the deficit to six, 29-23, early in the fourth, but Ingomar held on for the win.
“I’m very proud of their effort, especially after being down in the first quarter,” Ormon said. “We played through some mistakes, and Meshay got inside. In the second half, we just couldn’t get a shot to fall down, and I credit Ingomar with the adjustments they made. They took it out of Meshay’s hands, and we’re still looking for those other players to make shots.”
With the win, Ingomar improved to 11-8, 2-0 in division play.
“It’s big, and we’re working to be on the opposite side of the bracket from Byers,” Adair said of the division record. “They’re the heavy favorites, and it will be hard for any of us to compete with them. Getting out of our division is key.”
Cox led Myrtle with 15 points.
Both schools were in tournament action on Saturday, as the Hawks played Holly Springs and the Lady Hawks played Bruce at the Domino’s Shootout at Hickory Flat. The Hawks suffered a 59-48 loss to Holly Springs, and were led by Hampton with 19 points and Montgomery with 14 points. Bruce defeated the Lady Hawks, 46-28. Cox led Myrtle with 15 points.
Ingomar girls defeated Blue Mountain, 57-25, at the Belmont Girls Challenge, led by a 15 point performance by Emily Hall. Little finished wth 13 points for Ingomar. The Falcons defeated Durant, 67-38, at the Premier Shootout at North Pontotoc.
Ingomar will play at West Union on Tuesday, while Myrtle will host H.W. Byers.
Other Union County scores from Friday, Jan. 11
New Albany 53 Rosa Fort 31
West Union 45 Mantachie 33
Walnut 43 East Union 27
Rosa Fort 73 New Albany 60
East Union 55 Walnut 43
West Union 58 Mantachie 45