Indians best season ever ends in state semis
It is no secret that the Byhalia Lady Indians have been on a mission this entire basketball season. They have not been ostentatious about it but their quest has been a gold ball.
And at this time of year anyone who is associated with basketball in Mississippi can testify that that golden orb can be as elusive as the golden fleece.
Byhalia had waded through the field of opposition in the Class 3A arena and had made it to The Big House semi-finals with a first round bye.
The Lady Indians, making their first state tournament berth ever, were destined to meet the Tigers of Southeast Lauderdale after Southeast had gotten past Water Valley in the first round.
Coach Summer Pannells Lady Indians fell behind early in this one. Their play appeared timid at best. There was a seeming reluctance to take the fight to the Tigers. They were their own victims to a half dozen turnovers in a matter of minutes. The Lady Tigers capitalized, going to an 8-0 lead.
LaDonna Thomas got things rolling for the Lady Indians, and Ashley Wilson added another pair at the charity stripe. Then Lashonda Odum entered the game and rattled off four quick points to draw Byhalia to within three at 13-10.
The Lady Tigers kept the modest pace, but were taking care of the ball and still benefiting from the Lady Indians miscues. The 20-14 score favored the Tigers at the first break.
The entire second quarter was a near disaster for Byhalia. They were sliding in the wrong direction. Meanwhile, S.E. Lauderdale was sticking 20 points and holding the Lady Indians to a mere three. The Lady Tigers lead had expanded to 40-17 at intermission.
Byhalia showed some signs of aggression in the second half but still came off as a reluctant participant. However, the Lady Indians added almost as many points in the third as they scored in the first two quarters combined. The Lady Tigers had the 21-point edge at 54-33.
The real offense for Byhalia never showed up. The Lady Tigers, who would go on to dethrone the Lady Warriors of Choctaw Central in the championship game, took the eventual victory of 69-48.
For reasons that are probably not very clear, the Lady Tigers held the ball for the last minute and a half of the game although they had the 20-plus point lead.
The highest scorer for Byhalia was Odum with 11. Wilson, Brandy Fayne and Jalisa Bronson all had seven apiece for the Lady Indians. Queanisha Cathey had six, Chasidy Kizer five, Turicka Neely three and Thomas two.
For Southeast Lauderdale, Tiawana Pringle poured in 31 points. Lucy Ruffin and Marqueta Reed had 11 each. Other scorers were Martika Ivy with nine, Tushundra Owens with six and Samantha Ruffin with one.
The Lady Indians remarkable season ended with a 28-7 record.
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