Thursday, December 7, 2006
Close games highlight day one of Bi-County
By CLAUDE VINSON
This year the third annual Bi-County Tournament, featuring the best of Marshall and Benton counties on the hardwood, had another change of venue. The games would be played in the well-appointed facility at Hickory Flat. This would be the first season in which the teams from Hickory Flat would take part in the three-day affair.
Lady Devils-Lady Cardinals
The Lady Devils of Ashland and the Lady Cardinals would be the opener at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
The Lady Cardinals were making the most of their looks at the basket with Kenyotta Jenkins being the bell ringer. They were also taking care of the rebounds at both ends. However, both teams were flat outside the arc in the first quarter, but Potts Camp took the early point spread at 12-6 at the end of one completed quarter.
The teams sparred with each other in the second with the Lady Cardinals coming away with a fourpoint margin at the half, 22-18.
The Lady Devils began their push in the third. They pulled to within one, but Lovetta Martin meshed a long ball with the nylon and Potts Camp again had the upper hand. Lady Devil Sandricka Bowen tied it at 25 apiece. It didn’t stand very long. Potts Camp threw in seven quick points to make it 27-32 after three.
The pace really quickened in the last frame and the shooting became torrid. On a fast break, Terica Watkins knotted it at 37 and then hit the extra point to give the Lady Devils their first lead. The Lady Cardinals took the lead again after a tie at 40. Bowen had one last look with the clock running down and Potts Camp had the victory at 42-40.
Bowen led the floor with a high of 20.
The victors were led by Jenkins with 19 and Jasmine Harmon with 14.
The second game was a match between the Blue Devils of Ashland and the Rebels of Hickory Flat.
The intra-county teams hit the floor showing aggressive play with the Blue Devils getting the lion’s share of points. Halfway through the first period the Rebels were behind 8-0. They did manage five points for a 13-5 score at the end of one.
The Rebels were staying competitive with speed and shot blocking. They trailed at the half 17-19.
A quick hitter by LaDaryl Jones tied it at 19 inside the lane. After that the Blue Devils began to pull away. Quent Williams put the exclamation point on their run with a slam that gave Ashland its biggest lead at 12 points.
Hickory Flat got two of those back to make it 37-27 after three.
The Rebels were not done. They made a run for it in the fourth, cutting the lead to two on a trey by Marc Fortner and a deuce to tie by Richard Van Tassell.
The lead flipped a couple of times after that. Hickory Flat angled for the tying shot, but ended up having to foul. The Blue Devils went to the foul line and pulled it out 50-47.
Calvin Hampton led Ashland with 20. The Rebels had two shooters in double figures, Van Tassell with 12 and Jones with 13.
Lady Rebels-Lady Hawks
The third contest of the evening was an inter-county tilt with the Hickory Flat Lady Rebels taking on the Holly Springs Lady Hawks.
Scoring was slow in the first quarter with Holly High hitting a couple of long balls. The treys allowed them to finish the first quarter with a 10-6 lead.
The Lady Rebels went to a man- to-man defense which enabled them to stay close to the 3A opponent in the second frame and remain within three at the intermission at 22-19.
Coming off of the break, Kortny Tucker gave the Lady Rebels their first lead of the game at 23-22. The lead then see-sawed for the entire third quarter with Holly High being five points better at 33-28.
The Lady Hawks, nursing a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter, went to a stall offense. Hickory Flat tied it at 36 all and then Hannah Wilkerson went to the line and sank one for the lead. Holly High tied it on a one and one, but with time running out, Wilkerson was given an assist by Laken Cook and she nailed it on the run to give the Lady Rebels a 39-37 win.
The victors were led by Tucker with 14, followed by Cook with 10. Ebony Taylor paced the Lady Hawks with 10.
The nightcap on opening day was a contest pitting the Potts Camp Cardinals against the Indians of Byhalia. Potts Camp had a season record of 10-2 and the Indians were 2-7.
The Cardinals and Indians demonstrated from the tip that this was going to be one for the books – intra-county 1A against a 3A. The teams would have a combined total of seven shooters in double figures before the final bell.
The Indians took the first frame 18-12, but the Cardinals were not backing away from the fight. Both teams were pushing the ball in a free wheeling manner. In a game being played at such a pace, turnovers were rampant. The Indians managed to hang onto a one or two-point lead during the second quarter.
Potts Camp’s top of the line performer, Jacobye Davis, closed out the first half with a slam which brought the packed house to its feet. However, the Indians left the floor in front at 35-32.
The Cardinals came back after intermission and showed their red bird determination, taking the lead on another electrifying slam by Davis and then grabbing their biggest lead at 44-41.
The Cards made their biggest push, going up 52-47 early on. Justin Smith became the standard bearer for the Cardinals. His play sent the team out to a double-digit margin, but they did not settle into a relaxed zone.
The Indians made a valiant try, but they couldn’t stop the Cardinals, who coasted to a 79-71 win.
Potts Camp had four players in double figures. Davis showed the way with 22, next was Smith with 20, then Joshua Martin with 18 and Chris Sims with 15.
Byhalia was led by Norrell Malone with 20, Cornelius Blackmon with 18 and Demarius Moore with 14.
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