Thursday, February 2, 2006

Still unbeaten
Holly High sweeps


The Hawks and Lady Hawks went to Sardis on Friday evening to play their next to last Region 3-District 2 games of the current season.

For the Lady Hawks, a road win would probably be most welcome, leading up to the 3A district playoffs which are scheduled for February 13-17 in Byhalia.

The North Panola Lady Cougars were 1-14 and the visiting Lady Hawks were 3-21.

The game got off to a defensive start. The Lady Cougars were doing an admirable job of defending their basket. They were garnering most of the rebounds. But the Lady Hawks showed a lot of energy in trying to close the fast break avenue of the Lady Cougars. The score was respectable at the end of the first frame at 16-10.

The Lady Hawks fell behind by 10 points before their game started to come together. They first cut the lead to five and then Katrina Cowan uncorked one of her treys. The last seconds were running down on the first half when Corako King hit a pair for Panola at the charity stripe. The Lady Hawks were down 24-19 at the intermission.

The third frame saw a few fireworks. First, the Lady Hawks' coach drew a “tech.” A few plays later Cowan drove hard to the basket and drew an intentional foul. The ball dropped and she made all of the freebies. This pulled the Lady Hawks to within five again.

Then Katia Isom, who had been taking charges throughout the game, went to the line and canned a pair to break it to three. Isom next tied the score at 47 all with 1:50 left in regulation.

Cowan was hacked hard again on a fast break, went to the line but missed both tries. Isom came right back and moved it ahead 49-47 on a close -in bucket.

But the Lady Hawks let Panola pick up another two at the buzzer to send it into overtime at 49-49.

The fifth quarter was a true defensive struggle with the Lady Hawks turning in a great effort. They walked away with the 56-53 victory.

Assistant coach Ramona Fernandez talked after the game, highlighting the performance of Katia Isom.

“She really took charge in there this evening,” Fernandez said. “She stepped her game up in all areas. She rebounded, she challenged herself and she made shots when they counted.”

Isom led the Lady Hawks with 21. Cowan threw in 16, and Ebony Taylor put up nine.

Danyel Presley led the Lady Cougars with 17 followed by King with 15.

It was apparent that the Cougars knew that they were overmatched in the nightcap; however, they didn’t back off of the Hawks’ rebounders. They, too, went for every loose ball.

The Hawks’ pressure cooker defense didn’t allow them much success in finding their basket. They were behind the Hawks 23-6 after the first.

The undefeated and top-ranked Hawks were not scoring as easily as they usually do, due mainly to the Cougars contesting their every shot. They still had a hefty lead at the half which measured 54-24.

The Hawks went to better ball control in the third, working the ball outside and then into the post. Clifton Rayford was the recipient of most of the crisp clean passes. He took one with plenty of distance and slammed it home.

Meanwhile the Cougars were getting yeoman service from their big man, Rod Jefferson, who was cleaning up Cougar missed shots and sticking them back. But even with the liberal subbing by coach Naylond Hayes, the lead was too much for the Cougars to surmount.

Of course, it didn’t help any that Clevin Hannah had put on a clinic before he retired to the bench. He hit seven triples on his way to a 35-point performance. Jemorris Wilks hit for 12, while Antonio Isom struck for 11, and Brandon Ayers hit for eight.

Jefferson had 17 for the opposition, aided by Bruce Wilbourn with 14.

The final score was 89-57.

The next games for the Hawks (25-0) and Lady Hawks were scheduled for Tuesday at home against M.S. Palmer. Next Tuesday, Feb. 7, Holly High teams host H.W. Byers.

Hawks play in Nike Classic Feb. 11

The Holly Springs High School Hawks, Mississippi’s top-rated basketball team, will participate in the Nike Hardwood Classic Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tenn.

There will be three games that afternoon.

In Game 1 at 2:30 p.m., Hamilton meets Piney Woods.

Game 2 at 4:15 p.m. features Holly High against Ridgeway.

In Game 3 at 6 p.m., Mitchell goes against Brentwood.

Advanced tickets, which go on sale this week at Holly Springs High School, are $8 for students and $10 for adults, good for all three games.

Tickets go up to $10 and $12 on the day of the event.

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