Thursday, March 16, 2006
Hawks with halt in action
Holly High denied third straight crown
It has been said that if you stay in any business long enough, everything will become familiar. This could certainly have implications for the championship game which was played at the Mississippi Coliseum on Saturday between the defending champs in 3A, the Holly High Hawks, and the Panthers of Yazoo County.
The Panthers coach, Archie Carlyle, had stated before the contest that fans could see some slow-down tactics. Fans thought this meant a slower pace, not a complete halt in action!
Yazoo spread the offense, used three guards, and held the ball period. Andre Southern was the only player penetrating. He was the sole possessor of seven of the Panthers seven points which helped to comprise the first quarter score of 9-7.
The game reached halftime with the Hawks, who had expected to make a viable defense of their duly earned title, five points ahead at 12-7.
The bulk of the more than 6,000 fans at the game were almost ready to mutiny. In the first quarter the disgust with the inaction was distasteful, and in the third it had turned to disgust.
The Panthers held the ball in the third quarter for eternity. They did not score.
If there was ever a case for a rule change, this would be it. The Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) must consider what could be the repercussions for games played in this fashion. A halftime score of 12-7 would be ideal for a rugby match but ridiculous for a high school basketball game. What other game are you allowed to hold up action for that long, other than chess?
Six thousand basketball fans traveled hundreds of miles and three to four hours and paid thousands of dollars, all total, to be disgusted instead of entertained.
There was not a single person with whom this writer spoke who expressed any enjoyment in it.
This writer would be the first to express the desire to win; however, there is such a thing as winning with dignity. The coaches of teams must, and should, strategize. But if the desire to win is going to be to the detriment of 6,000 persons, maybe, it should be reconsidered.
There was little doubt that the team from Yazoo was of the same caliber as the team from Holly High. In a game played in the traditional, enjoyable fashion, Yazoo would have been thoroughly embarrassed.
In a championship game in which the best team did not win, the final score was 24-22.
That score was the third lowest in a championship game in the history of Mississippi basketball.
Holly High was denied its chance of a third title.
But Dennis Hampton had a trio of threes for nine points; Antonio Isom had seven; Brandon Ayers had five; and Clifton Rayford had one. Clevin Hannah did not score.
The Hawks finished the season at 34-2. It was their first loss to a Mississippi team since December 2004. They had a 48-game win streak broken last month by Ridgeway of Memphis, Tenn.
Southern had 15 points for Yazoo (30-8 on the season), Milton Gilbert five, Courtney Reed three and Darryl Jones had one.
Sports Editors Note: I realize that this is more of an opinion article than a news story about the game itself, and it might seem like a scathing indictment of a high schools athletic program. I want to make it clear that the sentiments expressed are mine alone and in no way seek the endorsement of this paper. The fans of both of these teams were the real losers.
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