Myrtle is hoping to catch a break entering the final week of the regular season and with the division tournament coming up next week.
Having lost its last three division games by less than 10 points in each contest, the Hawks entered last Friday’s game against H.W. Byers hoping to close out the district slate with a win.
Keon Hampton played a pivotal role in keeping Myrtle in front early on, scoring 12 of the Hawks’ 14 first quarter points, including a three-pointer to end the frame. Hampton had 18 points at the half, but went down with an injury that kept him out for the remainder of the game.
Despite Hampton’s absence, Myrtle held the lead until the third quarter but eventually to the Lions, 55-52.
“The way he was able to extend the zone out and he was able to hit the corner shots, he gave us more options offensively to stretch out the floor,” Myrtle coach Cliff Ormon said. “If he wasn’t able to hit it, then we could still run our offense. After he went down, we got into foul trouble with one of our other guards, and they made adjustments and started to box Robert in the second half. We struggled to get into a flow after that.”
Anthony Mabon led all scorers with 41 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, where the Lions outscored the Hawks, 22-12. Ormon said his team knew what Mabon could do entering the game, but had difficulties guarding him in the second half.
“He did what a senior is supposed to do. He got the ball and put his team on his back,” Ormon said. “We knew coming in that he’s a really good player, and I thought we did a decent job in the beginning of containing him, but in the second half, he continued to take us to the basket. We gave him some opportunities when we turned the ball over, and that kept the momentum going for them.”
Robert Montgomery led the Hawks (12-13, 1-4) with 20 points, and Taylor Hogue added 10 points. The Hawks also fell on the road at Amory on Friday, 56-42, and will close out the regular season this week at Hickory Flat and Potts Camp before next week’s division tournament.
“We haven’t had a break yet, and we’re in fifth in the division right now,” Ormon said. “We’ve put ourselves in that position, and our division is not easy. If we continue to do what we’ve done all year, we’ll find a way to win that big game. We’ve got to make our own break now.”
H.W. Byers 87 Myrtle 36 (girls)
Meshay Cox led Myrtle with 36 points in a division loss to the Lady Lions.
Byers opened the game on a 16-0 run before Cox scored Myrtle’s first points with 3:44 left in the first quarter. The senior paced the Lady Hawks with 13 points at the break.
Justice Martin led all scorers with 28 points for Byers, followed by 20 points from Madison McCreeless.