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There is rarely a dull moment when an in-county match-up takes place in basketball, and New Albany and Myrtle was no exception on Friday.
In a close game late in the fourth, Devonte Berry and the Bulldogs improved to 6-5 on the season after the senior posted nine fourth quarter points, giving the ‘Dawgs the 81-76 win.
“Having Devonte back helped us out a lot,” coach Brad Gray said. “He can do so many things, rebounding, scoring, great coordination and passing the ball. We’re definitely a lot better with him than we are without him.”
The Hawks and Bulldogs traded the lead eight times in the first quarter, knotted at 19, before the Bulldogs took a seven-point lead at the break thanks to six points from William Harding off the bench and Berry added five points.
New Albany took an early 11-point lead in the third, but three-pointers from Jonathan West and Robert Montgomery kept the Hawks within reach, as they were down 61-52 heading into the final quarter.
Keon Hampton made it a three-point game off his triple, and Montgomery got the Hawks within two, 71-69, on a three-point play. Hampton’s second three-pointer of the quarter gave the Hawks a brief 72-71 lead, but Berry helped the ‘Dawgs retake the lead followed quickly by a steal and basket by Eric Chaney.
“Any team that Jonathan Ashley is coaching is never going to quit,” Gray said of Myrtle. “You’re going to have to play hard for 32 minutes and never quit. They did just that; they did not quit and kept playing hard. We made a couple bad shots, they got a couple big turnovers and made some shots and got their momentum going. You have to take your hat off to them, because they never quit.”
Berry finished with 26 points to lead New Albany, while Chaney and Daniel Drummond each had 13 points.
Montgomery and West each had 25 points to lead the Hawks (8-5).
Myrtle 66 New Albany 38 (girls)
Aspriona Gilbert led the Lady Hawks with 24 points, as Myrtle remains unbeaten at 12-0 after a 66-38 win over the Lady Bulldogs.
New Albany found themselves down 10-5 early and came within one, 10-9, off a basket by Erin Michael Carter, but Myrtle pulled away on seven second quarter points from Gilbert and a third quarter that saw the Lady Hawks hit four three-pointers, three from Kiana Judon, and outscore the Lady Bulldogs, 26-11.
Jazmine Spears led New Albany with 13 points, and Meshay Cox had 16 points, Judon 15 points and Halle Knowles 12 points for Myrtle.
New Albany honors Amanda Price
New Albany resumed its sports schedule on Friday, playing for the first time since the death of Amanda Price on Monday. Athletes in both the soccer and basketball games donned the color purple, Price’s favorite, wearing ribbons, bows and socks in remembrance of the late wife of head football coach Ron Price.
“It’s just a small symbol to show appreciation for what a wonderful woman Amanda Price was,” Gray said. “You can’t say enough about how great she was. She was so kind hearted, loved the kids and everyone she worked with, and everyone loved her. I figured this is the least we can do to show our appreciation and honor her.”
Gray described the mood around the school this week, as this has been tough on the entire school district.
“I’ve been coaching for 10 years now, and this has been the most difficult week for me, personally, as a coach,” he said. “Thinking about everything going on that’s happened, I can’t pray enough for the Price and Cossey families and what they’re going through. It’s been a very difficult week for the kids, parents, everyone involved.”
“We’ll never forget what’s happened, but we’re starting the process of moving forward.”
New Albany soccer split its games against Amory, with the girls falling 3-2 and the boys winning, 8-5.
New Albany will next play on Friday, Dec. 16, against North Pontotoc, while Myrtle will play at West Union on Monday, Dec. 12.