MYRTLE • Myrtle went to the long ball early on and went on to defeat county rival East Union 59-44 in boys basketball. Jaden Taylor drilled four 3-pointers to propel the Hawk offense to the 23-9 lead.
Taylor burned the Urchin defense for 14 of the 23 Myrtle points in the period to enable the Hawks to take control of the contest.
East Union attempted to stay in the thick of the game as they hit three 3-pointers, but could not manage anything else from the field.
"I thought as a whole we played hard which is what we are trying to hang our hat on," Myrtle coach Rob Browning said. "Jaden got going in the first half obviously which was a big help, but you know, when I look at stat sheets, everybody that went in, pitched in and did good things.
"That's what we are trying to do is be a little deeper and get some guys in. I thought tonight was good."
The teams matched points during the second quarter as each hung 14 up on the scoreboard to go to the half at 37-23.
Myrtle opened up their largest margin of the night at the end of the third quarter with their 51-31 lead.
"We are so small, if you can't shoot it, we struggle," Browning said. "This year we are trying to get there, the more we play in a row helps. Playing last night then coming in today and practicing then playing again tonight helps with consistency.
"I told them in the first half when our defense picked up midway through the first quarter, offense becomes easy and that's the truth."
Taylor led all scorers with 19 points including five 3-pointers. Carl Graham hit for 11 points and Elijah Thompson scored nine points.
East Union was led by Noah Johnson's 14 points which included four 3-pointers. Caleb Johnson scored 13 points and Collin Stephens had six.
(G) Myrtle 46, East Union 44
Myrtle girls overcame a 15-point deficit in the second period and roared back in the second half to win 46-44 over East Union.
"We had three starters that weren't there and at first, as young players, we played terrible, but I was really proud of them because all seven girls that played, played hard," Myrtle coach Chris Greer said. "I thought Raykiah (Strickland) made some great steals and I thought Breanna Smith made some key shots.
"Emma Mayer and Dream (Carnell) got some key rebounds. We were almost on ESPN Not Top Ten after we shot that shot and made that foul, but hey, it all worked out."
Greer was referring to a last second missed shot by the Lady Hawks that gave East Union the opportunity to get possession. East Union then was subsequently fouled on the inbounds play, but the Lady Urchins failed to convert and Myrtle held on to win.
East Union was on the verge of an apparent runaway win it appeared in the first quarter as they opened up a lead of 18-5. Myrtle whittled the margin down to 27-17 by the intermission.
The Lady Urchins hit four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes as Mia Hutcheson bagged two while Jorja Roberson and Peyton Wildman had one each.
However, Strickland and Smith led the Lady Hawks back in the third quarter as Myrtle had a 24-8 scoring advantage to lead 41-35.
Strickland's free throw shooting was key in the win as she calmly sank 15 of 19 attempts for the Lady Hawks. She finished the night with 27 points and Smith added 13, including two 3-pointers.
Hutcheson led East Union with 10 points while Maggie McVey and Wildman had eight apiece and Carrie Wilkinson scored seven.