MYRTLE • Myrtle's offense went stale in the middle quarters and that enabled the Baldwyn Bearcats the opportunity to take the lead for good as they won 64-53 in the first round of 1A boys basketball. 

The Bearcats closed the first half on a 7-0 run and Myrtle never recovered for the remainder of the contest. 

"That 7-0 right at the end of the first half was big, we were up and they go up three," Myrtle coach Rob Browning said. "It was mainly we missed free throws that we've hit all year and we didn't block out very well. Did in spurts, but when you give teams like Baldwyn a second chance, they're going to make you pay and in the first half they had nine offensive rebounds and 18 points. That's going to beat you." 

Myrtle missed 14 free throw attempts on the night and it was indeed a recipe for defeat as Browning stated.

The storyline for the second and third quarters was telling as Baldwyn outscored the Hawks 34-19 after Myrtle led 14-12 after a quarter.

Jaden Taylor hit two threes and Elijah Thompson also scored six points in the opening quarter of play. 

Myrtle was able to restart the offense in the four quarter, but could not overcome the 46-33 lead by the Bearcats at the end of three periods of play.

Andy Trollinger led the Bearcats with 20 points. Preston Ward hit for 18 and Jamaury Marshall finished with 13 points. 

Elijah Thompson was high man for the Hawks with 20 points, including three 3-pointers. Brayden McNeal had a big night in the paint with 14 points and wingman Jaden Taylor hit for 13 points and also hit three 3-pointers. 

Myrtle ends its season at 13-9. 

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