For a half, Myers Park hung with a quicker, faster Winston-Salem Mount Tabor team.
Then, the second half came.
The Mustangs, who lost 72-50 in their N.C. 4A Western regional semifinal, started the third quarter by making seven turnovers in 13 possessions.
Mount Tabor guard Michael Grace, signed to Yale, sparked a 12-0 run by making back-to-back 3-point shots. Tabor went up by 15 and stretched the lead to as many as 25.
“It’s disappointing,” said Myers Park center Odell Turner. “We just didn’t play well.”
Grace scored all 16 of his points in the second half to spark the Spartans (29-1), who will play Hopewell (28-0) in Saturday’s state semifinal. Neither team has reached a regional championship before.
Myers Park coach Rick Lewis said he’d be pulling for Hopewell, which beat the Mustangs three times – in three close games.
“Hopewell and Tabor both have great guards,” Lewis said.
“(Tabor) was quicker than us tonight. We were well prepared and we knew everything that was coming.”
Myers Park reached the regional round for the first time since 1990 and Lewis hoped his team could take advantage of Tabor’s lack of size inside. But Turner, the team’s 6-foot-8 center, had the flu, still managing 15 points and 13 rebounds.
“Biggest game of his life and he gets sick, bless his heart,” Lewis said. “You could just see him wilt in the second half.”
Quan Alexander had 13 points and five rebounds for the Mustangs. Old Dominion signee Josh Hicks had 11 points and six steals for Tabor and Wake Forest signee C.J. Harris added 14 points and four assists.
“It just wasn’t our night,” Lewis said. “It just wasn’t our night.”