Thursday, January 19, 2006

Hawks never trail in 25-point win over 5A Tupelo
• State’s No. 1 beats No. 7

By CLAUDE VINSON
Sports Editor

There was tangible excitement leading up to the games with Tupelo last Friday night. The 5A Golden Wave and the 3A Hawks were both highly rated entities in state rankings, Holly High number one in The Clarion-Ledger’s Super 10 and Tupelo seventh.

The Lady Golden Wave, long time a perennial power in North Mississippi under coach Nanci Gray, had a season record of 16-4. The match-up would be tough for the Lady Hawks, who have struggled with teams in their division all season.

However, head coach Wilbert Beard had an ace which most probably didn’t realize. His assistant, Ramona Fernandez, played for coach Gray her entire high school career. She left the year before Gray and Tupelo won the 5A state title in the 2000-01 year.

The Lady Wave still ran out to a 12-1 headstart and claimed the first stanza by a hefty margin at 25-7. Tupelo kept running in new troops in both the early quarters and all the reserves had the range. They were hitting from all angles and led 49-11 at intermission.

Throughout the game the Lady Hawks (3-16) were having difficulty taking care of the basketball. The Lady Wave had a tight defense which took away ball after ball. They wasted little time in turning the turnovers into points.

The Lady Wave had three players in double figures and a couple with nine points. Katie Hancock led the charge with 18, followed by Jasmine Larry with 11 and Cortni Jordan with 10. Crystal Young had nine.

Katrina Cowan kept the Lady Hawks in the game with her accuracy from three land. She had plugged five mid-way through the third. She finished with 15 and Ebony Taylor had nine.

The final score was 75-28.

The house was full when the Hawks and the Wave took the floor. The contest was begun with a stifling press by the Hawks and blazing speed from both teams.

Jemorris Wilks got the Hawks on the board first with a three. Holly High then ran to a 13-2 margin before the Wave started making waves. They trimmed the lead to 21-17 at the end of one.

The crowd, which included a large contingent from both schools, was in it from the start.

The noise level built throughout the game. Neither team showed signs of slowing down and the Wave cut the Hawks’ lead to one twice in the second quarter. Shortly thereafter the Hawks became methodical, and like a deft surgeon, started slicing off the Wave’s resistance.

Clevin Hannah penetrated the lane while Antonio Isom cleaned up all the leftovers. Brandon Ayers, Wilks and Dennis Hampton made it a five pronge offense.

This contest was billed as a test between the Wave’s big man, Santez Johnson, and the Ayers-Hannah combine. Johnson showed up and hit his share of points (22), but it was not enough to stop the Hawks’ juggernaut in the end.

Holly High went on to win 72-47.

Tupelo’s Cahuncee Witherspoon and Paul Kohlheim had nine each. The Golden Wave dropped to 15-3.

The Hawks’ attack was led by Wilks with 18, Isom with 16, and Hannah with 15. Hampton had nine, all threes, and Ayers had eight.

The unbeaten Hawks improved to 21-0 this season. It was the 41st straight victory for the two-time defending state champions.

The Hawks and Lady Hawks will host three home games in a row, Independence on the Jan. 17, Horn Lake on Jan. 21, and Water Valley on Jan. 24.


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