Thursday, January 5, 2006

Byhalia downs Kirby in overtime

Sports Editor

The Byhalia Indians were back on the warpath during the holiday break, travelling to Fayette-Ware in Somerville, Tenn., to participate in the annual holiday tournament.

They were paired with White Station on Thursday night and came away winners. The real test came on the second day of the tournament, which was Friday.

The game on close-out day found them up against a more formidable foe in Kirby. The pace was fast but the shooting was cold from both sides; however, the Kirby Cougars were a bit more accurate, leading 11-6 with a minute and a half left in the first quarter.

Their forward, Kakeem Henderson planted one three and then hit his second just seconds before the frame ended to extend the lead to 14-6.

In the second quarter the Cougars’ big man, Evan Plunkett, started to make his presence known at both ends of the court. He consistently cleared the boards and released long passes to his racing guards.

The Indians were down by double digits but cut the lead back to a single digit before intermission. The game was almost squeaky clean. There were only six total fouls committed in the entire first half. The Cougars still controlled 26-19.

The Indians came out in the third frame with a more dedicated defense. Head coach Charles Gillespie’s team began a pressuring defense against Henderson on the wing to stop his long bombs. The strategy worked.

Byhalia turned the tide and came back to be one point ahead at the end of three.

Both teams saw the end nearing and went tit for tat in putting points on the board. The Cougars managed to creep back out front at 51-49.

But Byhalia’s guard, Demarius Moore, pulled up and stuck a trey to swing the lead back to the Indians. Seconds later the Cougars grabbed the lead again on a deuce. But Cordell Jefferson, who had been creating havoc for the Cougars in the low post position throughout the game, pushed a rebound through to swing it back to the Indians.

The Cougars’ Xavier Johnson went coast to coast and was fouled on the lay-up attempt. He went to the charity stripe, made one of two and sent the game into overtime.

In the overtime period, with Jefferson still muscling in, the Indians took a six-point lead halfway through the extra frame and were able to hold on for that final margin of victory at 70-64.

Senior forward Adarryl Richmond led the floor for the victors, registering a 30-point total. Jefferson was next with 20, and Moore rounded out the double digit scoring with 11.

For the Cougars it was Henderson setting the pace with 15 (four treys) followed by Plunkett, Johnson and C. Carroll who had 11 each.

The Indians (13-4 on the season) will host the high-flying Holly Springs High School Hawks this Friday, Jan. 6, in not only a Marshall County rivalry but an important district game in the Class 3A ranks.

Next Tuesday, Jan. 10, Byhalia hosts another Marshall County foe in Potts Camp.

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