Thursday, March 20, 2008
It’s been a wild and joy-filled ride for The South Reporter basketball coverage team.
We put a wrap on the 2007-08 game coverage Thursday in Tupelo, where one of our county teams advanced all the way to the Grand Slam.
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions’ season was spectacular – 35-5, regional crown, north title, state championship and Grand Slam berth.
And that’s the first state championship ever at Byers – in any sport.
Each member of our sports staff – myself, Claude Vinson, Ronnie Day and Lawrence White – followed the Lady Lions at times throughout the season. There was even once, the state title win over Philadelphia, when all four of us were on hand.
I think the lady at the press table was a bit shocked to see four folks from a weekly newspaper in northwest Mississippi covering the same team.
But none of us would have missed it for the world.
We want to thank coach Jason Thompson and his Lady Lions for supplying us with great photographs and stories – all the way through the middle of March. We truly felt we were a part of the team, and that’s the way it should be.
And we appreciate the kind comments from Byers’ fans about our coverage of the team. This is our job, and thank goodness we have a job that’s loads of fun.
And even though basketball is over for our county schools, it’s not finished for some former Marshall County stars.
Paris, Texas, Community College and Chipola, Fla., are in Huchinson, Kansas, this week for the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament.
One of the standout players for Paris is former Holly Springs High School Hawk Brandon Ayers. Unfortunately, Ayers is injured.
A recent press report out of Paris, Texas, said –
• The one thing that’s hurt PJC late in the season is the loss of Brandon Ayers, who injured his knee several weeks ago. He’s the Dragons’ best pure shooter and could turn a four-point lead into a 13-point lead in a matter of seconds.
Luckily for PJC, it doesn’t rely on any one or two players, even though each component matters as much as the next.
At tournament time, that’s the only way to go.
The Dragons (28-5) faced Southeastern Illinois College Tuesday in their first game of the national tourney.
One of the stars for Chipola is former Holly Springs High School Hawk Clevin Hannah.
The Indians are ranked second in the nation. Last year they came up one win short of the school’s first-ever national championship.
This is Hannah’s first year at Chipola. He transferred from Paris.
Chipola averaged 85.7 points per game this season, taking advantage of a deep and talented roster.
A team from North Mississippi – the Itawamba Community College Indians – is also in Hutchinson, Kansas, seeking a national championship. They were scheduled to open play on Wednesday of this week.
It appeared, at the time of this writing, four other players with local ties, these at four-year college Lamar University, missed post-season play.
The Cardinals were upset by Texas-Arlington last week in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament, despite a 19-point effort from Kenny Dawkins. He is another former Holly High Hawk who played for coach Naylond Hayes, and he’s the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year.
Also contributing greatly to Lamar’s 19-11 season were former Hawk Justin Nabors, former Byers Lion Currye Todd and former Hickory Flat player Lamar Sanders. Sanders, first team all-conference with Dawkins, added 14 points and eight rebounds versus Texas-Arlington, while Nabors contributed 10 points and four boards.
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