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Chris Greer has watched his squad drop several close games this season, but the Lady Hawks were able to hold on for a big division win over H.W Byers, 53-51, Friday night.
Myrtle went on a 6-0 run in the fourth quarter, but like in their other losses this season, turnovers and missed shots almost cost them the game, as the Lady Lions responded with a game-tying run, led by five points from Alexis Hardaway.
Kourtney Coleman gave Byers their final lead, and Myrtle responded going ahead by four, which would have been enough to give the Lady Hawks the division lead. Kyra Gulledge’s basket at the end of the game kept that from happening, as the two teams are now in a deadlock in the race for the division title.
“In all five loses, we’ve either been tied or winning the game in the last five or six minutes and we missed shots and turned the ball over," Greer said, "but I thought we played good tonight to get the win.”
Myrtle held a 10-8 advantage after the first quarter before Coleman took over in the second quarter, scoring nine of the Lady Lions’ 16 points, and Byers held the 24-23 lead at the half.
Byers opened the second half on a 6-2 run, going ahead 30-25, but Jenna Jordan kept the game close with a three-pointer that was good for one of the four ties in the frame.
“We didn’t shoot well tonight, but I thought it was a great defensive game,” Greer said. “They have the best defense, and Coach (Jason) Thompson has done a great job with them.”
The two teams were tied at 38 heading into the final quarter and traded leads before Myrtle’s run, which started with a basket by Meshay Cox. The Lady Hawks (19-5) were led by Aspriona Gilbert’s 17 points and 13 points from Halle Knowles. Coleman led Byers (16-8) with 16 points, followed by 13 from Hardaway.
The loss is the first for Byers against a team in Mississippi, as the previous seven were against out-of-state opponents in various tournaments. The two teams entered the game as the number one and two ranked teams in 1A according to the Clarion Ledger, and if both win out, there will be an interesting tiebreaker to determine the division winner.
“I hate that girl [Kyra Gulledge] hit that last second shot because now we’ve both beaten each other by two points, and I’m not sure how that tiebreak is going to work,” Greer said. “I’m glad we were able to get the win, because this would have been a very tough loss for us."
Myrtle will next play at West Union on Tuesday.