Lady Lions knock off Potts Camp for third seed
By BARRY BURLESON
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions and the Potts Camp Lady Cardinals both had to dig a little deeper Friday night.
Coming off emotional losses in the Region 1-2A semi-finals the night before, the two Marshall County squads tangled in the consolation contest.
Byers made it three-for-three against Potts Camp this season with a 57-50 win, sending the Lady Lions to West Bolivar in the first round of North State on Monday of this week and the Lady Cardinals to Coahoma County on Tuesday.
“We were both coming off hard defeats (Byers to Ashland and Potts Camp to Belmont),” said Jason Thompson, head coach of the Lady Lions. “We know each other well. It was basically which team had enough energy left.
“My team was fortunate enough to get the breaks and make the most shots down the stretch.”
Thompson said it was the first time in his five years at Byers that his team had swept the Lady Cardinals.
“He (coach Kevin Harris at Potts Camp) has usually had my number,” Thompson said about the friendly rivalry.
Amelia Cunningham’s 15 points led Byers, which improved to 19-13 on the season. Simone Ryan added 11.
The Lady Lions outscored Potts Camp 11-4 in the second quarter to take a 29-23 halftime lead.
Top scorers for the Lady Cardinals, 17-14 overall, were Latrece Walker with 18 and Kenyotta Jenkins with 16.
“Hats off to Byers,” Coach Harris said. “In the end they made a few more shots.
“We played hard but not always smart. I was pleased with the way we bounced back (after a loss to Belmont).”
Coach Thompson said Coach Harris stunned him a bit with a zone defense instead of Potts Camp’s usual man-to-man.
“It surprised me, and it worked,” Thompson said. “It took us awhile to figure it out.”
Harris said, “We gave it a whirl, and it caused them some problems.”
H.W. Byers vs. Ashland
The Lady Lions came oh-so-close in the semi-finals Thursday against eventual champion Ashland. A last second Byers shot rolled around the rim and fell off, giving the Lady Devils the 51-50 win.
“It was a hard-fought game between two big rivals,” Thompson said. “We knew each other well before we ever got in the same district.
“It boiled down to their experience - five senior starters. It was a physical game, and bottom line, they won.”
Ciara Seldon and Simone Ryan gunned in 11 and 10 points each, respectively, for Byers.
Leading Ashland were Sharon Traylor with 17 and Martamara Richard with 16.
The Lady Devils led 29-22 at the half.
Potts Camp versus Belmont
Coach Harris said his Lady Cardinals struggled against Belmont’s full-court pressure and dropped an 80-47 decision.
“Nobody did well,” he said. “I didn’t, the girls didn’t, plus Belmont was able to play their game, and that put us in a bind.
“We got down and had to go faster than we’re used to, and then it had the snowball effect. My kids played hard to the end.”
Walker scored a team-best 16, while Jenkins added 14. Keshia Southward had a game-high 33 for Belmont, which led 41-24 at the half.
H.W. Byers vs. Baldwyn
The Lady Lions rallied from a 14-point deficit with 7:00 remaining to snatch a 58-56 win from host Baldwyn in round one Monday night, Feb. 13.
“We had our backs against the wall,” Thompson said. “We were determined we weren’t going home. We still had our eye on the prize (getting to Jackson).”
Cunningham was the top gun for Byers with 15. Seldon had 10. Rachel Jones also added 10, including a big three-point play late in the game.
Byers, turning up the heat on its full-court press, outscored Baldwyn 34-20 in the fourth quarter.
Potts Camp vs. East Union
Jenkins and Walker combined for 35 points in the Lady Cardinals’ 66-45 rout of East Union in round one Tuesday night, Feb. 14.
“In the first half the game was tight, and in the second half we pulled away,” Coach Harris said. “They had trouble matching up with Kenyotta (Jenkins) and Latrece (Walker).”
Jenkins scored 23 and Walker 12.
East Union’s top player, Kelly Buskirk, had 17, with just five of those coming in the second half.
“We had to have it,” Harris said. “It was a go-home game. We just wore them down.”
With wins in round one of North State, Byers and Potts Camp girls would advance to the North 2A quarter-final round later this week at Belmont.
The State Tournament starts next week at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
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