Thursday, January 4, 2007
Hawks beat Lions on last-tick shot
By CLAUDE VINSON
The crowd for the first game of this contest was the smallest to witness a girls game between Holly High and H.W. Byers in the last three seasons; however, by the time the second half began just about all the seats were filled.
Four minutes were practically gone from the clock before anyone hit a basket. The Lady Hawks took an early lead in this December 22 matchup and the score remained 4-1 until the Lady Lions hit another at the charity stripe.
Brittany Todd pulled up and nailed a three to give Byers the one point lead at the end of the first quarter at 5-4.
Coach Jason Thompson kept experimenting with floor combos until he got one which settled down and gave him a 17-12 halftime lead.
The shooting improved a little in the third with Byers finding some openings under the basket. Candice Seldon was the Lady Lion most frequently at post, being spotted by Rachel Jones.
Both teams were making a lot of trips to the foul line but neither was making the attempts count big. The Lady Lions were shooting about 40 percent (over the course of the game they stood at the line hitting eight of 19). However the Lady Hawks were faring worse. canning only 11 of 25 attempts. This helped Byers achieve the 34-17 mark at the end of three frames.
It was evident at the opening of the fourth that the Lady Hawks were going to have to burn some rubber if they expected to climb back in it. The Lady Lions had gotten their three ball working, shots were beginning to fall and they were increasing the distance.
Holly High made a slight dent but it was not near enough. The Lady Lions put this one in the record books at 48-28.
Ebony Taylor didn’t reach the doubles plateau, but she led the Lady Hawks with eight.
Seldon led the Byers bunch with 13, product of her close-in play. Next was Todd with 10 (a trio of treys and a single). Simone Ryan had nine.
Holly High Hawks slip past Byers Lions at buzzer
Probably many in the packed house were thinking if this would be a real test of the future of the Hawks this season. After all, just two days before, the Hawks had lost to a much-improved Tupelo squad. Coach Naylond Hayes was again starting his newly acquired player, Cordell Jefferson, perhaps trying to continue to acclimate him to the Hawks’ system as soon as possible.
However, the first quarter ended with the Lions showing a one point advantage at 11-10.
The Lions came out in a full court press to start the second. They were hurrying the Hawks into misfires, but the score remained close because the two teams were trading baskets. The Hawks escaped with a two point lead at the half, 25-23.
Jefferson came alive in the third and went strong to the basket. He had a nine-point lead for the Hawks about halfway through the frame. He was also helping Daniel Burton keep the Lions at bay on the defensive end. The Hawks were still making miscues but they held onto the lead of 36-25 at intermission.
When the fourth opened, the Lions were re-committed. Nicholas Tate brought them back with a pair of threes and Justin Owens put them one ahead on a steal and layed one in off a fast break. It was 38-37 with 4:02 left in the contest.
Suddenly, this was turning into old-fashioned basketball. Class no longer counted. Justin LeSeuer gave the Hawks another cushion at 44-40. Then Marvin Rayford threw up an impossible shot and was fouled. Tristan Kizer came back and put Byers ahead by one point on a short jumper.
The crowd was going wild with the clock racing toward :00 and LeSeuer was streaking down the left sideline. He took a pass and released it milliseconds before the buzzer sounded. The Hawks had escaped with a 46-45 victory.
Tate led the Lions with 12. They also got a 10-point effort from Rayford.
LeSeuer had nine points, including the clutch shot at the end. Jefferson paced Holly High with 20. Jeremy Jeffries threw in 10.
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