Thursday, December 14, 2006
Byers gets wins in division openers
By BARRY BURLESON
The H.W. Byers Lions dominated when it counted most Friday night, in the fourth quarter, and dealt Baldwyn its first loss of the season.
Coach Sylvester Kilgore’s team, trailing 29-26 at the half and 49-47 after three quarters, went on a 20-6 run in the fourth to win 67-55. It was the first Division 2-2A game for both teams. Byers improved to 7-2 overall, while Baldwyn went to 8-1.
“We hung around, and they hung around, and then our guys pulled it out,” Kilgore said. “We had better execution toward the end, and we were much more aggressive.”
Justin Owens and Darrius Wells ignited the Lions early. They each hit a three as the home team went up 14-6. But their lead was trimmed to 14-13 after one quarter.
The first two and a half minutes of the second quarter were scoreless. Baldwyn grabbed its first lead of the game at 16-14 with 5:27 to go in the first half and was up by three at the break.
Owens dialed long distance three times in the third. His third three in the period gave Byers a 37-35 advantage with 5:13 left.
The Bearcats bounced back again to lead by two at the end of the third.
Then the fourth was all Byers. Tristan Kizer’s three gave the Lions a 52-49 lead and one minute later Fredrick Jones converted a layup to make it 54-49. The Lions cashed in some free throws down the stretch to win by 12.
It was Byers first game since winning the Bi-County Tournament crown six nights earlier.
“We worked hard during the layoff we had, and I think that hard work paid off in the fourth quarter,” Kilgore said.
Owens and Jones had 14 points each for the Lions. Nicholas Tate added 13 and Kizer nine. Nine Lions scored.
The Byers Lady Lions, in their first game since winning the Bi-County championship December 2, looked a bit rusty in the early going versus Baldwyn but still coasted to the 71-43 victory.
“We just played good enough to win,” said coach Jason Thompson, whose team went to 8-1 overall and 1-0 in district. “We were fortunate to muster enough energy to win. Our hustle was not there.
“Apparently, we used all of our energy in the Bi-County, and then we had a whole week in-between. We didn’t perform well, but we will take the win. They all count.”
Byers’ Brittany Todd opened the game with a three. The home team was up 11-10 after one period.
Latasha Anderson’s layup on a fast break pushed the margin to 18-10 early in the second quarter. The lead was 26-16 at the half.
It was all Lady Lions in the second half. They outscored the Lady Bearcats 45-27 and won by 28.
Ciara Seldon was the top scorer with 13. Simone Ryan followed with 12. Todd and Marian Parker added nine and eight, respectively. Eleven Lady Lions scored.
“Our speed and depth took over in the third quarter,” Coach Thompson said. “We’re blessed with depth. Our different rotations help.”
Baldwyn shot 26 free throws in the game. Byers shot four, all in the fourth.
H.W. Byers vs. Sheffield
The Lady Lions and Lady Lions visited Sheffield High in Memphis Saturday night and dropped 57-49 and 91-54 decisions, respectively.
“It was a learning experience we need to have when we’re trying to make it to Jackson (for the state tournament),” Coach Thompson said. “It was an eye-opening experience for both teams.”
Byers teams were scheduled to host Ashland Tuesday night. They then visit Tunica Rosa Fort Friday night and host Independence next Tuesday, Dec. 19.
Coach Thompson said a game has been added to the girls schedule. The Lady Lions will play Oxford Friday, Dec. 29, at 3 p.m. in the Pontotoc Best of the Best Invitational Tournament.
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