Thursday, December 8, 2005

Lions, Devils, Lady Lions, Lady Indians claim victories on day one of tournament


Opening day of this year’s Bi-County Basketball Tournament was highlighted by two teams avenging earlier season losses.

Lions vs. Cardinals

The H.W. Byers boys got a bucket from Nicholas Tate with four seconds left and celebrated a 40-38 victory over Potts Camp Thursday on the campus of Northwest Community College.

The Cardinals had downed the Lions 59-47 on November 18.

“We put the ball in Nick’s hands and he delivered,” said Byers head coach Gerone Kirkland, who got his 799th career coaching win. “He’s experienced at the guard slot, and he’s the man you want with the ball.”

He also praised his team’s defense. He switched from a man-to-man the first time he played Potts Camp to a zone.

“They couldn’t get the ball where they wanted it, and we didn’t give them many open looks (at the basket),” Kirkland said. “Plus, we limited their second shots.”

Tate and Terdarin Bryson scored 10 points each for the Lions, who were up 21-17 at the half.

For Potts Camp, Jacobye Davis had 17 and Luther Jones 13.

Chris Ferrell, coach of the Cardinals, said after the game it was simply two good teams battling each other.

“We knew we had done something special when we beat them by 12 at our place,” he said.

“We made some bad decisions in the last minute (tonight).

“Give Coach Kirkland credit; he made some good adjustments.”

Byers (5-6) moved on to finals, while Potts Camp (7-4) headed to the consolation game.

Indians vs. Blue Devils

Cordero Ayers’ 31-point performance powered Ashland to a 73-62 victory over Byhalia and a spot in the semi-finals against Holly Springs.

The Indians had beaten the Blue Devils 72-70 on November 11.

“It was a career-high for Cordero (Ayers),” said a happy Ashland head coach Jessie Terry. “Around the basket, he’s solid.

“We complimented each other well tonight. It was a great team effort.”

Mario Jones followed with 17, and Calvin Hampton scored 10.

“It was a big win,” Terry said. “It was our best overall effort of the year. We tried to keep them out of the lane and make them shoot outside, and we wanted to make sure we gave them one shot each time. At our place earlier in the year, they had too many second chances.”

Jones’ dunk put the Devils up 16-11 midway through the first period.

A three-point play the old-fashioned way from Adarryl Richmond gave Byhalia a 29-26 advantage with 2:32 to go in the second quarter.

Ashland went back up 32-31 at the half.

The Devils turned it up a notch in the third quarter. They enjoyed their biggest lead at period’s end, 55-43. The highlight in the third for Byhalia was Richmond’s slam.

The Indians cut it to nine in the fourth quarter, but Jones and Ayers made some key buckets to secure Ashland’s 11-point win.

For Byhalia, which played without the services of Cordell Jefferson, Richmond poured in 21 points and Demarius Moore had 16.

The Devils (3-5) moved on to face Holly Springs in the semi-finals. The Indians (7-4) settled for a consolation matchup versus Potts Camp.

Lady Lions vs. Lady Hawks

Balanced scoring and pressure defense carried the H.W. Byers Lady Lions to an easy 68-40 victory over Holly Springs in the tournament’s first contest.

The Lady Lions held the Lady Hawks to just 20 points in the first three quarters, while producing 56 points of their own.

“We turned in a strong defensive effort, and we got balanced scoring,” said coach Jason Thompson.

Hitting in double digits were Brittany Todd with 14, Amanda Jones with 12 and Ashley Stephens and Rachel Jones with 10 each.

Byers played in Northwest’s larger gym during a summer league, and it paid off.

“We played 12 games there this summer, and I think we learned to play on a floor like that,” Thompson said. “It helped us. I have some kids who can shoot anywhere.”

For Holly Springs, Ebony Taylor scored 15 and Katia Isom 14, 12 of those coming on three-point shots in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Lions (5-7) advanced to the title game. The Lady Hawks (1-8) moved to the consolation contest.

Lady Indians vs. Lady Cardinals

Byhalia coach Summer Pannell said her team’s 41-26 opening round win over the Potts Camp Lady Cardinals was all about defense.

“Our defense was really good,” Pannell said. “We held them to just two points in the third quarter.”

Meanwhile on offense, the Lady Indians spread the floor “and got some easy baskets with some good backdoor cuts,” she said.

Byhalia was up 9-8 after one quarter, 19-15 at the half and 23-17 following three periods.

Brandy Fayne was the top gun with 11 points, seven of those coming in the fourth. Lashonda Odum was next with nine, seven of those coming in the first half.

Nine Lady Indians scored in the 15-point victory.

Kenyotta Jenkins’ 11 points led Potts Camp.

The Lady Indians (5-5) advanced to a semi-final contest against Ashland. The Lady Cardinals (5-6) would be pitted against Holly High in the consolation game.

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