Thursday, February 22, 2007
County rivals clash in district final four
By BARRY BURLESON
Jason Thompson and Kevin Harris needed no scouting report going into Thursday night’s Region 1-2A Tournament semi-final matchup.
The head coaches of the H.W. Byers Lady Lions and the Potts Camp Lady Cardinals, respectively, know each other and their respective teams well.
“It was one of those games you prefer not to play,” Thompson said about meeting the fellow Marshall County school for the fourth time this season. “But we did what we needed to do to get the job done.”
The top-seeded Lady Lions downed the fifth-seeded Lady Cardinals 60-42, thanks in large part to a 23-8 run in the second quarter.
“We wanted to get a good lead, control the ball, run some clock and weather the storm,” Thompsons aid. “Potts Camp got after us in the second half. Give credit to Coach Harris and his girls. But we stepped up and answered the challenge.”
Bethany Moore’s layup cut Potts Camp’s deficit after one quarter to 11-10.
About four minutes later H.W. Byers’ Amanda Jones scored back-to-back buckets off Potts Camp turnovers and the Lady Lions were on a roll, leading 30-16.
Byers led 34-18 at the half. Never-say-die Potts Camp got to within 10 in the third quarter on Kenyotta Jenkins bucket.
But Brittany Todd’s three with 50 seconds to go in the third quarter pushed Byers back up big at 45-27.
Fourteen points was as close as the Lady Cardinals got in the fourth.
“Playing Byers is never easy,” Coach Harris said. “We didn’t shoot well – missed too many free throws. We had some mental breakdowns offensively the first half, and they took advantage.
“We played hard. Defensively, it’s the best we’ve played against them. We didn’t quit.”
Latasha Anderson’s 13 points was tops for the Lady Lions.
Jenkins poured in a game-high 23 for Potts Camp.
“Kenyotta is a great athlete,” said Thompson, the opposing coach. “She had a great second half.”
The Byers girls (22-8) moved to Friday’s title game versus host school Belmont. The Potts Camp girls (16-15) played New Site in the consolation contest Friday.
Lions vs. Belmont
The top-seeded Byers boys fell 62-61 to upset-minded and fourth-seeded Belmont in a double-overtime barnburner Thursday night.
“It was a tough loss,” coach Sylvester Kilgore said. “Each possession is so crucial in a game like that. We had our chances, but we didn’t close the deal.”
Nicholas Tate’s three-point play the old-fashioned way knotted the game at 46 with 3:30 left in regulation. It was tied at 48 with over 2:00 to go, and Byers melted the clock for the last shot, which was not successful.
The Lions went up 52-50 in the first overtime on Darius Wells’ strong putback. But Belmont’s Josh Harrison canned two pressure-packed free throws with seven seconds to go to again knot the contest.
Byers went the length of the court and had a couple of shots to win it, but those efforts failed.
The Cardinals, playing on their home floor, capitalized on a Byers turnover with about 2:00 left in the second overtime and went up 54-52 and never trailed after that. They led by as many as seven, 60-53, with 51 ticks remaining, and hung on to advance to the championship game Friday.
“We missed a free throw here and a shot there,” Kilgore said. “They just didn’t drop for us when we needed them. We played excellent defense all night.”
Tate had 18 points for the Lions. Tristan Kizer and Wells added 16 and 14, respectively.
The game was tied at 13 after one quarter. Belmont was up 27-24 at the half and and 39-35 after three periods, thanks to a long three from Ellis Pettie. Pettie finished with 17 points.
Byers (16-12) settled for a consolation game Friday against Potts Camp. Belmont met Ashland in the title contest.
Devils versus Cardinals
Coach Jessie Terry said when the game gets close he likes to put the ball in the hands of Calvin Hampton or Darnell Anderson. His clutch players responded Thursday in a nip-and-tuck 79-73 semi-final win over Potts Camp.
Hampton scored 23. Anderson added 17.Both came up big in the big game.
“They’re our leaders,” Terry said.
Quent Williams and Quint Hampton added 13 each.
“But if we do anything, our defense has to lead us,” he said. “I told our kids to come in play consistent defense, and for the most part, they did what I asked.”
Potts Camp trailed 14-12 after one quarter. Jacobye Davis’ three put the Cardinals up 35-33 at the half and they maintained that two-point advantage, 52-50, after thee periods.
It was a battle in the fourth with the lead changing hands a few times.
Hampton cashed in a three-point play the old-fashioned way with 1:35 left in the fourth, and the Devils went up 73-69.
The Cardinals tied the game at 73 with 51 seconds to go on Josh Martin’s bucket.
But the Devils’ defense created two late Potts Camp turnovers, scored off both and they escaped with the six-point win.
“Down the stretch we made a couple of crucial errors,” said Brian Smith, head coach of the Cardinals. “I was disappointed with our defense in the fourth quarter.
“We have to do a better job of closing out games. This time of year, little things make a big difference. We missed some free throw, and we didn’t get the ball where we needed to and we did the ball didn’t bounce our way.”
Four Cardinals hit for double figures – Martin with 24, Davis with 21, Shawn Collins with 17 and Justin Smith with 10.
The second-seeded Devils (15-12) moved on to the title game Friday versus Belmont. The third-seeded Cardinals (20-12) slipped to the consolation contest against H.W. Byers.
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