Hill’s shot sinks Vikings in OT

Dee Johnson drains a 3-pointer for Myrtle in the first half at North Pontotoc. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Dee Johnson drains a 3-pointer for Myrtle in the first half at North Pontotoc. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ECRU – Chris Hill’s short jumper in the lane with two seconds remaining gave Myrtle the come-from-behind overtime win over North Pontotoc on Thursday 76-75.
“I felt like we gave it (game) away a couple of times and turned around and had to win it back,” Myrtle coach Rob Browning said. “Credit my boys, they decided that they weren’t going to lose. There’s a lot of things we have got to correct, but ultimately if you can get out of a game like this with a win, you’ll take it.”
The dramatic finish began with Hill at the free throw line with the Hawks down 75-73 with seven seconds left. Hill sank the first free throw to close the score to 75-74, but missed the second shot which set up the play of the game according to Browning.
“Titus (Gillard) kept that ball alive off the missed free throw, he tipped it and Chris followed the ball and made a heck of a shot,” Browning said. “It was a tough shot over people and we didn’t get a foul called. That was big and we’ll take it.”
Myrtle had taken what seemingly was a comfortable lead during the third quarter, but North Pontotoc chipped away and cut the double-digit lead down to nine by the end of the period at 50-41.
North Pontotoc got clutch 3-pointers during the fourth quarter to rally and briefly take the lead. The Vikings connected on four 3-pointers in the period.
The teams finished regulation tied 61-61 as Dee Johnson got off a shot that bounced off the back of the rim as time expired.
The teams were tied 6-6 after a quarter and again at the half 26-26.
Johnson led a quartet of Hawks in double figures with his 27 points. Hill and Lavon Kiddy had 12 points apiece and Anthony Lipsey added 10.
Myrtle improves to 6-1 on the year.
Myrtle girls lost a close one, 48-45 to the Lady Vikings. The Lady Hawks were able to get with one point at 44-43 following Jessica Floyd’s free throw to complete the three point play, but North Pontotoc picked up the insurance points needed to take the win.
Presley Goolsby sparked the first half scoring for Myrtle with nine points as the teams went to half with the Lady Hawks trailing 22-19.
Ivory Montgomery had a big second half for Myrtle, scoring 10 points.
Leading scorers for the Lady Hawks were Floyd with 14 and Montgomery finished with 12. Myrtle girls are now 4-3 on the year.
Ivory Montgomery drives in for two against North Pontotoc. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Ivory Montgomery drives in for two against North Pontotoc. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Abiram Frazier hits the short jumper for the Hawks. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Abiram Frazier hits the short jumper for the Hawks. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Presley Goolsby shoots this shot from the lane to score two of her nine first half points on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Presley Goolsby shoots this shot from the lane to score two of her nine first half points on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Anthony Lipsey blocks out for the rebound against North Pontotoc. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Anthony Lipsey blocks out for the rebound against North Pontotoc. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Myrtle depth too much for Wheeler

Jonathan Scales goes in for the dunk on the Myrtle fast break. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Jonathan Scales goes in for the dunk on the Myrtle fast break. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
MYRTLE – Myrtle boys utilized their depth and athleticism to down Wheeler 87-41 in their game on Tuesday. The Hawks opened up a double-digit lead in the first quarter and continued to pour in the points the rest of the night.
“We got after it, I think we took advantage of them (Wheeler) not being prepared for the press,” Myrtle coach Rob Browning said. “The first games of the year you never know what to prepare for with the other teams and so I don’t think they were prepared for us to come out in something like that. We were able to build a lead by pushing the basketball.”
The Hawks press gave the Eagles problems and lead to several easy transition goals to give Myrtle a 19-5 lead after a quarter. Myrtle continued the offensive attack in the second quarter, scoring 24 points to extend their lead to 43-14 at the half.
Myrtle’s bench was instrumental in opening up the lead during the second quarter as Browning substituted liberally and the bench players scored 39 points for the game led by Jonathan Scales’ team-high 16 points.
“I thought that I had 8-10 players that played really well tonight,” Browning said. “Even some of the guys that played near the end of the game played well and did some things that I like to see. My big guys played well and we had a pretty good size advantage down low. My guards did a nice job getting the ball down to them.”
Scales led the scoring for the Hawks with 16 points, Dee Johnson and Chris Hill had 14 points apiece.
In the girls game, Myrtle and Wheeler were tied after a quarter, but the Lady Hawks struggled the rest of the game offensively. Wheeler took a 27-22 lead at the half.
“I thought we played fairly well the first half,” Browning said. “We had a couple of girls that had to sit due to fouls for a little bit. We just completely got outplayed in the second half and that’s on me. We’ll get back in here tomorrow and try to correct a few things.”
Myrtle was never able to hit double figures during a quarter following the first period. Wheeler won the contest 65-38.
Jessica Floyd led Myrtle in scoring with 13 points, Ivory Montgomery added 10 and Geniesha Montgomery had 9 points.
Myrtle will play New Albany on Friday and will participate in the Pontotoc tournament on Saturday, playing Lewisburg.
Josh Goolsby connects on this running jumper in the lane on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Josh Goolsby connects on this running jumper in the lane on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Titus Gillard drives into the lane for the layup over the Wheeler defender. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Titus Gillard drives into the lane for the layup over the Wheeler defender. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

New Albany wins battle of the Lady Bulldogs

Grace Thompson drives to the goal and scores for New Albany. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Grace Thompson drives to the goal and scores for New Albany. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
TUPELO – New Albany and Aberdeen met in the opening game at the Hound Dog Classic tournament at Tupelo High School on Saturday and New Albany took a convincing 56-24 win.
“Well it was an opening season win and we were happy with holding them (Aberdeen) to 24 points,” New Albany coach John Stroud said. “I think our man to man defense was pretty good. I don’t like the turnovers that we had, but it was first game jitters and overall I was pleased. Samantha Bridges had a good game, I think she had 23 points and Drusilla Crockett played well in the first half.”
New Albany used a fast start to open up a double digit lead after a quarter of 17-3. The Lady Bulldogs added to that lead and held a 31-8 advantage at the half.
New Albany used their smothering defense to hold Aberdeen to five second quarter points and also to convert some Aberdeen turnovers into fast break scores.
Bridges and Crockett led the offense for New Albany, scoring 13 and 10 points.
New Albany extended their lead to 48-17 after three quarters of play. In the fourth quarter, Coach Stroud emptied the bench and allowed all his players to get some valuable playing time.
“I was pleased with our win,” Stroud said. “We have got to work on ball-handling and just taking care of the ball.”
Bridges’ 23 points led all scorers and Crockett was the other Lady Bulldog in double figures with 10 points.
New Albany will play at Myrtle on Friday in their next game.

West Union swept by North Pontotoc

Eli Basil, Hayden Basil and Adam Grubbs surround the North Pontotoc player and the basketball. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Eli Basil, Hayden Basil and Adam Grubbs surround the North Pontotoc player and the basketball. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ENTERPRISE – West Union opened their 2014-15 basketball season as hosts to the neighboring North Pontotoc Vikings and the Viking swept the Eagles in boys and girls action. North Pontotoc won the girls game 55-35 and took the boys nightcap 59-42.
North Pontotoc used a strong second quarter in the boys game to get a double digit lead at the break of 32-20. West Union only trailed by a 16-11 score after the first quarter.
“We had a couple of turnovers and got careless with the ball,” West Union coach Timbo Henderson said. “In some of it, we were trying to do too much instead of sticking with our game plan. We gathered ourselves after the half and cut back the lead until we had to start fouling and they (North Pontotoc) knocked down all their free throws.
West Union was able to close the score to 41-32 after three quarters, but the Vikings were able to put the game away as they converted 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter as the Eagles were forced to foul.
Hayden Basil led the Eagles with 19 points. North Pontotoc had four players in double figures: Austin Johnson 15, Montel Berry 14, John Phillips 11 and Brandon Gonzalez 10.
West Union and North Pontotoc were locked n a tight game through the opening half as the Lady Vikings held a 23-19 lead over the Lady Eagles at the intermission.
West Union came out cold in the third quarter, scoring only two points and those two came with 39 seconds remaining in the quarter. North Pontotoc held a 39-21 lead as the quarter ended.
West Union found the range again in the final period and scored 14 points in the quarter.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well and we couldn’t corral their point guard,” West Union girls coach Matt Thompson said. We couldn’t get anything working with our press and they did a great job of controlling the game.”
West Union was led by Kylie Massengill’s 11 points and Marley Long added 10. North Pontotoc was led by the duo of Tia Davis and Amelia Merritt. The pair scored 18 apiece and Kristin Anderson added 13.

Injuries and inconsistency plague Urchins

Jamie McCullough and Jesse Keller tackle the Hatley runner. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Jamie McCullough and Jesse Keller tackle the Hatley runner. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
Coach Scott Duley stated in the preseason that for his 2014 East Union team to be successful they needed to avoid injuries and play with consistency. Unfortunately the Urchins were hit with a rash of injuries that shelved nearly a dozen starters. East Union failed to jell as unit until late in the season because of the injury factor and inexperience as the lineups changed every week.
“We started off the season with a whole new team, defensively we had one returning starter,” Duley said. “We had a lot of football acumen and experience that graduated last year. We had a lot of talented young men on the team this year, but they were unproven on the football field.”
The Urchins started out winning three of the first four games, but stumbled to six consecutive losses to close the season.
“After the second game of the season we decided to make a change on offense and moved Lane Plunk from quarterback to fulfill his potential and we made the move,” Duley said. “Zane Wilkinson moved over to quarterback and he had never played football until this year.”
The injury issue hit East Union at the same time that the quarterback switch was made and the Urchins continued to see starters fall to the wayside from a variety of reasons.
“It’s fair to say that for us to get out there and play hard every Friday was all that we could expect from these young men given the type of year that we were having,” Duley said. “We didn’t jell as a team until the sixth or seventh game and that falls on me as the coach for the lack of cohesiveness we had as a team.”
East Union had 19 varsity players left by the season’s end after beginning the year with 34 players.
“Most of the players that were left were guys that I have had for the past four or five years,” Duley said. We were left with left with about 19 kids, now it looked better than that because we dressed out our entire eighth grade team the last two or three games.”
East Union will return around a dozen players for next year and they hope to see about 20 players in the ninth grade class.
Duley plans to also strengthen the schedule in non-division opponents. Possible opponents include Falkner, Hamilton, Potts Camp, Alcorn Central and Strayhorn for 2015. Duley has heard that New Site and possible Hatley could move up to 3A and if so, he would like to keep them on his schedule as non-division games.
“We want to try to get people on our schedule next year that will be as good or better than us,” Duley said. “If you want to be successful in division play, you have got to have to have some good competition in non-division games.”

East Union has strong day at Regional meet

East Union boys won first at the 1-2A Regional cross country meet on Saturday. Team members pictured (not in order): Jordon Salmon, Hunter Nobles, Joey Pace, Zach Rowan, Zac Cisowski, John Wicker, Chance Betts, Steven Ragsdale, Izaiah Rich. Also pictured are head coach Nathan McLellan and assistant Jennifer Bruce. Photo submitted by Shone Nobles.

East Union boys won first at the 1-2A Regional cross country meet on Saturday. Team members pictured (not in order): Jordon Salmon, Hunter Nobles, Joey Pace, Zach Rowan, Zac Cisowski, John Wicker, Chance Betts, Steven Ragsdale, Izaiah Rich. Also pictured are head coach Nathan McLellan and assistant Jennifer Bruce. Photo submitted by Shone Nobles.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union boys took first in Division 1-2A Regionals and had the overall individual boys winner in Jordon Salmon while the the girls team placed second and Sarah Duley finished second overall.
East Union boys won in dominating fashion as the Urchins took five of the top seven spots. East Union defeated second place Potts Camp by a margin of 18-47.
Salmon was the boys overall winner with his time of 16:23.00. Hunter Nobles (17:38.00) and Joey Pace (17:39.00) finished second and third for the Urchins.
Zach Rowan (18:01.00) came in fifth and Zac Cisowski (18:49.00) places seventh.
Other East Union runners and their times included: John Wicker (19:13.00) for 10th place, Chance Betts (19:47.00) for 16th place, Steven Ragsdale (21:10.00) placed 20th and Izaiah Rich (21:54.00) finished 22nd.
East Union girls were narrowly defeated by a strong New Site team 21-36. East Union had six runners in the top 14 to help to secure the second place finish.
Duley had a time of 20:25.00 for a close second, New Site runner Mikaelah Muse took first with a time of 20:17.00.
Karmon Skelley (22:28.00) placed seventh and Hannah Courtney (22:39.00) finished 10th.
The Lady Urchins had a trio of runners, Ally Cisowski (22:58.00), Maggie Meinz (22:59.00) and Delani Akin (23:55.00) finish in the 12th to 14th places.
Mary Kate Nobles (25:08.00) finished 19th, Keara Davis (25:56.00) placed 26th and Teresa Cobb (26:13.00 placed 27th for East Union.
The race was run in extremely chilly temperatures on Saturday at Itawamba Agricultural High School’s course.
East Union will compete in the state 2A cross country championships on Saturday at Clinton.
Jordon Salmon won the overall boys individual title at the 1-2A Regionals with a time of 16:23.00. Photo submitted by Shone Nobles.

Jordon Salmon won the overall boys individual title at the 1-2A Regionals with a time of 16:23.00. Photo submitted by Shone Nobles.


Sarah Duley finished second in the girls 1-2A Regionals on Saturday with a time of 20:25.00. Photo submitted by Shone Nobles.

Sarah Duley finished second in the girls 1-2A Regionals on Saturday with a time of 20:25.00. Photo submitted by Shone Nobles.

Urchins fall to the Tigers

Jamie McCullough and Jesse Keller bring down the Hatley ball carrier on Friday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Jamie McCullough and Jesse Keller bring down the Hatley ball carrier on Friday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ELLISTOWN – East Union fought hard and kept the game tight for a half before falling to Hatley 35-7 on Senior Night.
“It doesn’t reflect in the score, but I thought we played much better defensively tonight,” East Union coach Scott Duley said. “We played much harder and I was proud of the effort. We had eight seniors out here and we let them play all night long on both sides of the ball.”
Hatley took the early lead on touchdown runs by Chance Lindsey. The first came with 9:35 remaining in the first quarter on Lindsey’s 5-yard run. Lindsey found the end zone again at the 4:35 mark and with John Woods’ PAT the Tigers owned a 14-0 lead after a quarter.
East Union got a much-needed turnover at the start of the second quarter to cut into the Hatley lead. Cody Taylor scooped up a Tiger fumble at the Hatley 12 and returned it to the 4-yard line. Lane Plunk later scored on a 2-yard run and converted the PAT and closed the score to 14-7.
Hatley was the recipient of a questionable pass interference call on third and 15 from the East Union 47 when it appeared the Hatley receiver collided with an Urchin defender on incidental contact. The resulting mark-off set up the Tigers with a first down at the Urchin 33-yard line.
Quarterback Jonathan Waycaster hit Louis Lettieri with a long vertical pass for the touchdown on the next play and Hatley extended their lead just before the half to 21-7 and took the momentum for the remainder of the game.
Hatley stifled the Urchin running game but Zane Wilkinson and Thomas Moore enjoyed some success in the air as they connected on four plays for 44 yards.
Hatley scored a touchdown in the opening minute of the third quarter as Cody Hood ran 15 yards with an Urchin fumble to put the Tigers up 28-7.
The final score of the game came with 3:05 left in the game as Josh Trimble scored on a 2-yard run and the PAT made the score 35-7.
Friday’s game was the final high school football game for eight East Union seniors: Lane Plunk, John Isaac Roberts, Jamie McCullough, Jesse Keller, Josh Whitenton, Hartman Hunt, Lucas Wigington and Bailey Spruill.
“We have not been able to run the football all year and you can’t win if you cannot run the football,” Duley said. “I was very proud of Zane Wilkinson, he’s grown up a lot in his first year at quarterback. Thomas Moore has been an outstanding development this year, he hasn’t played since the seventh grade.”
“Cody Taylor did a great job for us all year long,” Duley said. “He played tackle, receiver, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. He had never played football in his life and I asked him to play four or five different positions this year. Our seniors are all great young men and I’m very proud of them.”
With the loss of the eight seniors, East Union looks to be very young next season and will have mostly ninth and tenth graders as the core group.
East Union completes the season with a 3-7 record overall and 0-5 in division.