Thursday, March 20, 2008
Lady Lions finish 35-5
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Lady Lions of H.W. Byers and their fans saw their idyllic odyssey come to an end Thursday in Tupelo at the BancorpSouth Arena.
The Lady Lions, Class 2A state champions, were paired with one of the very few teams to beat them this season, the Lady Cougars of Coldwater, unbeaten Class 1A champs. It was the quarter-final round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Grand Slam Championship.
Neither coach was showing trump cards to start. They were content to size each other up.
Rachel Jones of Byers hit the first basket on a lay-in.
The Lady Cougars came back and took the lead on a deuce and a trey. They then started to look for a clear path to the basket. They found a few open avenues and opened up a 13-4 lead at quarter’s end.
Coldwater continued to find paydirt more often than the Lady Lions in the second quarter. The Lady Lions were not exhibiting that stifling defense and speedy offense which had intimidated opponents all season. They did manage to get the difference down to a single digit before the half, 26-18.
After intermission, Byers was becoming more aggressive on offense. The Lady Lions were finding more ways to push it inside. And Jones was finding her aim at the charity stripe. But they were still missing too many shots. The Coldwater Lady Cougars were ahead at 40-30 at the end of the third frame.
In the final quarter, Byers was not controlling Coldwater’s Ashley Daniels, a University of Arkansas signee. She was taking advantage of every opening.
Marian Parker hit a pair of timely treys to bring the Lady Lions back. The lead was cut to 46-41.
However, Coldwater was in the bonus and time was leaking away. The Lady Lions needed six points, but they had only 26 seconds shown on the clock. To get possession, they had to send Lady Cougar’s Jerontay Clemons to the line. She canned both and the Lady Cougars went on to claim the victory, 58-45.
Jones and Daniels were high point producers for their teams with 19 and 18, respectively.
Also for Byers, Amanda Jones hit eight.
Backing up Daniels were Kayla Davis with 14 and Lanita Futrell with 11.
Coldwater was defeated by Gentry on Friday. The latter went on to win its second Grand Slam title over Murrah’s Lady Mustangs. Gentry had beaten Murrah last season for the crown.
The Lady Lions, their coaching staff and the entire Byers program is to be lauded to the highest. Their performance has been stellar all season.
The Grand Slam boys title went to the 5A Provine Rams. They defeated the 4A New Hope Trojans in the finals.
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