Gene Phelps |Special to the Gazette
MYRTLE – Myrtle coach Rob Browning is glad senior guard Hunter Baggett wanted to come out last season for basketball.
Baggett scored 13 points and played his usual tenacious defense in his final regular-season home game Tuesday to lead the Hawks to a 69-47 Division 3-1A victory over Hickory Flat.
“This was my last game playing at home … just a big game,” Baggett said. “I try to keep everybody motivated, playing together as a team.”
Browning said Baggett, a baseball player with junior high basketball experience, came to him in August 2018 seeking an opportunity to tryout for the team.
“Hunter told me he really wanted to play,” Browning said. “He practices hard and plays even harder. He played really, really well tonight.”
Myrtle improved to 11-12 overall and to 5-4 in the division. The Hawks play their final division game Friday at county rival West Union.
A 3-pointer by sophomore guard Jaden Taylor and layup by Baggett helped Myrtle race to a 12-1 lead early. The Hawks led 17-5 following the first quarter and entered halftime up 39-22.
Hickory Flat rallied to within 10 points, 51-41, in the third quarter.
A pair of late 3-pointers by senior Greg Woods helped the Hawks clinch the win.
“We’re getting better the more we play,” Browning said. "We’re still not putting four quarters together. We had two really good quarters to start, skipped the third one for some reason, and played really well the fourth.”
Elijah Thompson led Myrtle with 14 points. A.I. Nugent added 12.
(G) Hickory Flat 67, Myrtle 65
Two of Northeast Mississippi’s top players – Myrtle’s Kinsley Gordon and Hickory Flat’s R’Daztiny Harris – put on quite the show.
Gordon, a sophomore guard, scored 34 points to lead the Lady Hawks. Of that total, 11 came in the fourth quarter as Myrtle battled back from a 12-point deficit.
Harris, despite fouling out with 4:47 remaining, scored 35 points. She scored a career-high 49 in an early game this season between the two teams.
Hickory Flat, now 22-2 overall, improved to 8-1 in the division. Myrtle dropped to 13-11 and 6-3.
The Lady Rebels sealed their win on a layup by freshman Dalayni Odom with four seconds remaining.
“It wasn’t our night,” Myrtle coach Chris Greer said. “I thought we battled. It was a tough game, but we’re getting better. Maybe we’ll get another chance at them.”