Thursday, January 12, 2006

Byers sweeps rival Potts Camp

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

H.W. Byers teams were dominate when they hosted county and district rival Potts Camp Friday.

The Lions won by 25 points and the Lady Lions by 24.

Coach Gerone Kirkland dressed just eight players due to some suspensions based on the school’s academic policy. The inspired Lions won 67-42.

“They were motivated,” Kirkland said. “I talked to them before the game and told everybody to move their game up a level, and that’s what happened. We played very well as a team.”

The star was Nick Tate, who gunned in 20 points. Victoren Hooker and Bradley Coleman added 14 and 10, respectively.

“Nick Tate has really stepped up,” Kirkland said, “and Bradley Coleman, our only senior, has upped his game.”

The Cardinals led 16-14 after one, but Byers outscored them 39-15 over the next two quarters.

“Tate took over,” said Chris Ferrell, head coach of the Cardinals, “and then we lay down and quit. We didn’t defend, and we didn’t execute.

“Give a lot of credit to the Byers kids. They had several players suspended and wanted to prove they could win. They played hard and it took it to us.”

For Potts Camp, Luther Jones and Eric Jackson scored 11 each.

Byers improved to 10-10 overall and 2-1 in Region 1-2A. Potts Camp dropped to 8-10 and 1-1.

“With the type of schedule we’re playing, I feel pretty good,” Kirkland said. “We’re playing a tough schedule.”

Coach Jason Thompson said his Lady Lions simply “took care of business” in their 78-54 win over the rival Lady Cardinals.

“They knew what was expected of them and what they needed to do,” Thompson said. “I think we’re turning things around and going in a positive direction.”

His team improved to 9-11 overall but more importantly 2-1 in the district.

Sparking the offense for Byers were Amanda Jones with 21 points, Amelia Cunningham with 16 and Rachel Jones with 11.

“My two seniors (Cunningham and Ashley Stephens) have responded in taking their leadership roles,” Thompson said. “Their focus is wearing off on some of my freshmen. The kids have started believing in themselves - no matter who we play.”

Byers trailed Potts Camp 16-14 after one quarter but outscored the visitors 39-15 over the next two periods.

For Potts Camp, Latrece Walker had 18, Kenyotta Jenkins 17 and Jasmine Harmon 14.

The Lady Cardinals went to 9-9 on the year and 0-2 in district play.

“They (Byers) played so well,” said Kevin Harris, head coach of the Lady Cardinals. “They put a total game together. Give credit to Coach Thompson and his team.

“Their defense was swarming, and they made tough shot after tough shot. We had to go faster and quicker than we like, and it got ugly.”

Thompson added, “Coach Harris does a wonderful job with his team. We just hustled and executed.”

Potts Camp vs. West Union

Also last week, Potts Camp teams tipped off the second half of their season with a split at West Union.

The Lady Cardinals exploded in the third quarter, hitting five three-pointers, on their way to the 59-41 victory.

Harmon sank three “threes” in the period, and Jenkins and Walker had one each.

“We were up 13 at the half, and then it ballooned in the third,” Coach Harris said. “We really took it to them.”

Walker, who fouled out with five minutes to go in the game, finished with 23 points. Harmon and Jenkins followed with 14 and 11, respectively.

It was a see-saw game for the Cardinals. They dug an early 22-9 hole but rallied to lead by five at half before losing in the end, 73-69 at West Union.

“We made a couple of bad decisions late in the game that cost us,” Coach Ferrell said.

“Overall, I’m pleased with how we played. We didn’t give up.”

He said the Cardinals had “no answer” for West Union star John Sexton, who scored 37.

Potts Camp’s Jacobye Davis was close behind Sexton with 33. Jackson and Jones had 15 and 10, respectively.

Schedule

H.W. Byers plays district games against East Union (Tuesday) and New Site (Friday) this week.

Potts Camp visited county rival Byhalia on Tuesday. The Cardinals and Lady Cardinals host district foe Baldwyn Friday night, and then go to district competitor East Union next Tuesday, Jan. 17.

“We have to wake up as far as division play,” Coach Harris said. “We’ll get back to work. This is opportunity to get better.”


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