Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hawks rout Byers, 5A Olive Branch
• Open defense of state title this week
Sports Editor

It was a low scoring affair which got off to a slow start Friday night when the Holly High girls hosted Olive Branch.

The first frame ended with both the Lady Hawks and Lady Conquistadors stuck at eight. The Lady Hawks were holding their own against a 5A opponent with an impressive record of 19-4.

The Lady Hawks had a two-point lead with a minute left in the second quarter, but Lady “Q” Nique Johnson tied it at 16 all just before the buzzer.

Holly Springs held the vapor thin lead until the four minute mark of the third when Johnson gave Olive Branch its first lead at 26-24. But Catahsa Boxley came right back and knotted it again. The Lady Hawks were still holding a single digit advantage at the end of three at 29-28.

Play resumed in the final quarter with Olive Branch grabbing the lead again on an outlet pass from Johnson to Kristi Moore. Brittany Bogard added another deuce off of a floor rebound and the Lady “Qs” had their biggest lead of the game at four (their first lead came at 38-36).

The highly partisan crowd was clamoring for a Lady Hawks comeback with 37 seconds left. Holly High knocked off two points and on the next possession, JoAnna Isom, who had already registered a trio of treys, planted for another trey attempt and the one-point win. But the ball missed its mark. The Lady Conquistadors were fouled and went on to win 42-38 at the free throw line.

Olive Branch had two players in double figures – Delissa Scott with 12 and Nique Johnson with 11.

Catasha Boxley recorded 13 for the Lady Hawks.

The fifth-seeded Lady Hawks (13-14 on the season) were scheduled to play in the Region 1-3A Tournament at Northeast Community College in Booneville on Tuesday evening of this week against Alcorn Central. With a win, they meet top-seeded Ripley at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the semi-finals. The consolation and championship contests are at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, on Friday.

The Holly High Hawks got a stellar performance from Kenny Dawkins as they took full measure of the Conquistadors.

At times it appeared that the devastating duo of the Hawks (Clevin Hannah and Dawkins) was having a three-point duel. The two guards were pelting the nylon from both corners beyond the arc. Hannah recorded six hits from the three plateau and Dawkins had four.

The Hawks had opened the game with speed and had to fight the “Qs” constantly for court superiority. With DeUntral "Duke" Mosley sidelined with an injury and being replaced by Charles Johnson, the Hawks got their offense revved up in the final few seconds of the first frame with a slam by Justin Nabors.

After that the woods were on fire and so was the Hawks offense. They ended the first half with a 45-23 mark.

Holly High slowed the pace for a brief period in the third but picked it up again on one of Dawkins’ treys. Within minutes they had doubled the score of Olive Branch at 50-25.

Holly High was never threatened in the second half and went on to win at 95-45.

Dawkins and Hannah accounted for 66 of the Holly High total with 36 and 30, respectively. Brandon Ayers threw in 11.

Bret Davis led the Conquistadors with 13.

It was reported on Saturday that Kenny Dawkins had been selected as the Region 1-3A Player of the Year and Naylond Hayes was the district’s Coach of the Year.

The top-seeded Hawks (26-1 on the season) are scheduled to play at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday of this week in the semi-finals of the Region Tournament at Northeast Community College in Booneville. They face the Ripley-North Pontotoc winner. The consolation and championship games are at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., respectively, on Friday.

The top four teams from the Region move on to North Half play next week.

Holly High vs. Byers

Also last week, Holly High teams split a pair of games on the road at rival H.W. Byers.

The Lady Hawks dropped a 57-41 decision to the much-improved Lady Lions.

Ebony Taylor paced the Lady Hawks with 18 points.

Leading Byers to the win were Jessica Moore with 15 points, Amelia Cunningham with 11 and Ciara Seldon with 10.

The Lady Lions pulled away in the fourth quarter when they outscored the visitors 17-5.

Five Hawks scored in double digits as the visitors rolled to an eaasy 92-52 win over H.W. Byers.

Top point men were Hannah with 22, Nabors with 19, Ayers with 15, Dawkins with 14 and Eric Jackson with 10.

Marcus Gorman had 10 for the Lions.

Holly High led 44-17 at the half.

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