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Myrtle 77 East Union 59
A tale of two halves would be the best way to describe the in-county match-up between Myrtle and East Union. Coming off their first loss of the season, Myrtle looked to rebound against the struggling Urchins, but a great effort by Coach Tim McDonald's squad gave the Hawks a hard time until late in the third quarter.
East Union led throughout the first half, taking a four-point advantage to the break, and showing more hustle and intensity than their cross-county opponents.
“The team that made the most effort in the first half was ahead,” Myrtle head coach Jonathan Ashley said. “That's all you can ask for. Coach McDonald's kids gave it everything that they've got and that's a credit to him. Anytime you come over here, it's a tough place to play. Those kids played hard and we're fortunate.”
The Urchins out rebounded the Hawks 20-12, while each team had four steals. One of the most important stats for Ashley and his squad are the touches on defense. In that category, East Union clearly had the advantage, having 20 touches to Myrtle's 3.
“We talk about hustle stats, we had three touches in the first half, while East Union had 20. That's where it starts for us on the defensive end,” Ashley said.
Myrtle came out in the second half and stepped up defensively and eventually took the lead and put the Urchins away, outscoring East Union 26-18 in the third.
“In the second half, David, Russ, Jimel and Beau woke up and got in there and played the way we expect them to play and did the things we expect them to do,” Ashley said. “At the end of the third quarter, everyone turned it up on defense, getting tougher and getting more hands on the ball.”
The Hawks scored another 25 in the fourth to pull away from a game that was a lot closer than the score says.
“You've got to give Coach Mcdonald and East Union respect because they played hard and executed some things right,” Ashley said. “They gave us a hard time and fortunately we found a way to make some plays at the end of the third quarter and fourth quarter to get some separation and some free throws. It was a lot closer than that.”
“We struggle against good, athletic teams, and in this day and time there are not many cupcakes, so you have to step up your game,” East Union head coach Tim McDonald said. “As far as turnovers, early in the third, I thought that was the backbreaker. It seems like in the third quarter, we came out sluggish and not really fully awake. We definitely played with some heart and I'm proud of the way they played tonight. I've told them to leave it all out there.”
McDonald was quick to point out the positives he saw from his team that lead to their early advantage.
“I thought we did an excellent job on the boards in the first half. We're not as big or as athletic as they are, but I thought overall that we've done an excellent job controlling the boards during the first half of the ball game.”
Justin Jordan led all scorers on the night with 28, while Jamil Judon added 14 and Robert Montogomery 11 for the Hawks.
For East Union, Gareth Pannell led the Urchins with 20, while Ethan Roaten had 12 and Clay Armstrong added 10.
“Gareth had a good game as well. He's been our most consistent player so far this year,” McDonald said. “We've got to rely on our seniors. We've got to make sure we keep them in the game.”
As far as the next step for the Hawks, Ashley has seen some positives from his squad, but knows it can get better.
“It's a work in progress. We've done some good things, but a lot of times I don't see the good things that we do, but we do some good things as well as some bad things. We're working on trying to get better every day,” Ashley said.
With the win, Myrtle improves to 8-1, while the Urchins fall to 5-6. Both teams will have the week off with Myrtle returning to action next week at Shaw before hosting their annual tournament, and East Union will host Hamilton on December 5 for their homecoming.
Ingomar 89 West Union 61 (Boys)
The Falcons jumped to an early lead and never looked back as they defeated in-county rival West Union 89-61 Friday night.
A 23-point first frame by Ingomar gave them a 16-point advantage, and the Falcons continued to roll in the second, taking a 58-25 lead to the half.
The Eagles outscored Ingomar in the fourth, but that would not be enough, as West Union falls to 2-10 on the year.
Wesley Jumper led all scorers with 27 for the Eagles, while Zach Carnell posted 22, followed by Kensey Stout with 15 and Matt Purvis with 12, as the Falcons improve to 8-5.
Both West Union and Ingomar will have the week off for Thanksgiving, with the Falcons returning to action at the Myrtle Tournament December 4-6, while West Union will be in the North Pontotoc Tournament the same weekend.
West Union 34 Ingomar 24 (Girls)
The road to win number 11 for the Lady Eagles was a tough one, as West Union held on for the 10-point 34-24 victory at Ingomar Friday night.
The Lady Falcons held the 7-6 advantage after one, as neither team was able to get anything started offensively. West Union outscored Ingomar 7-4 in the second quarter to take a 13-11 advantage to the half.
In the third frame, a little more offense was seen, with Ingomar outscoring West Union 11-10, but the deciding factor came in the fourth, as the Lady Eagles were able to hold up their tough defense to shut down Ingomar, only allowing the Lady Falcons two points in the fourth.
Rachel Baker led the way for West Union with 12 points, as the Lady Eagles are now 11-1 on the season.
For the Lady Falcons, Claire Wise led Ingomar with 10, as they fall to 4-9.
Next up for West Union will be the North Pontotoc Tournament next weekend, December 4-6, and Ingomar will be participating in the Myrtle Tournament the same weekend.