Thursday, February 1, 2007
Lady Lions fall short against Kentucky’s eighth-ranked team
By BARRY BURLESON
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions traveled almost 1,000 miles round trip last weekend to battle one of Kentucky’s best.
And they gave eighth-ranked Henry Clay all it could handle before dropping a 66-52 decision Saturday in the Chad Helm Kentucky Challenge at Lexington. Their record fell to 16-8 on the season.
“It was a long bus ride and we did our best,” coach Jason Thompson said. “The biggest thing - we never got in a rhythm. We were blessed to have the opportunity. We lost the game, but we were focused and enjoyed the moment.”
Henry Clay is a much bigger school than Byers. It has about 1,300 students and would be a Class 5A school in Mississippi. Byers is a 2A school.
“They beat us by 14, but we were not that far away,” he said. “It was five or less much of the way, and then they pulled away at the end.
“Most importantly, I told my team that if we are to make it to Jackson, we need games like we played Saturday. We didn’t play our best, and a very good team executed and beat us.”
The second quarter proved to be the difference. Henry Clay outscored Byers 17-7 to take a 29-17 halftime advantage.
Thompson said two Lady Lions did not play the first half due to suspension for school reasons. They played the second half and Henry Clay outscored the Lady Lions by just two, 37-35, in the last 16 minutes.
Four Lady Lions scored in double digits - Ciara Seldon with 12, Rachel Jones with 11, and Marian Parker and Lanika Hale with 10 each.
“It was a great experience and great exposure for my players,” said Thompson, who himself got to meet Tubby Smith, head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats.
The Kentucky Challenge included one other girls’ game and three boys’ contests featuring more highly-ranked teams from five states.
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