Thursday, January 10, 2008
H.W. Byers battles bigger schools
By CLAUDE VINSON
The H.W. Byers Lions and Lady Lions accepted an invitation to an all-4A tournament last weekend, the annual Oxford Round Robin. The Byers teams drew the Warriors and Lady Warriors of Pontotoc in the first round.
The Lady Warriors got the tip but lost it under their basket. It took a couple of trips down the floor before they lit up the board. Pontotoc was using a 2-3 on offense but on defense they were going man all the way. This created problems for the usually fast breaking Lady Lions. It resulted in a low first quarter score of 11-5.
In the second quarter, the Lady Lions were being out-rebounded. There were some close-in attempts for the Lady Warriors plus Lauren Rosado had free rein from three-land. She dropped four in the first half. This helped to account for the Pontotoc lead of 39-20 at intermission.
Byers put a man-to-man defense on the floor to start the second half. The tactic was effective in stopping the ball but it did little for their point production. Near the end of the third quarter, the Lady Lions were behind 23 points. Simone Ryan cut it by two with a close-in bucket to make it 50-29 at the end of three.
The Lady Lions would have a fresh eight to take the game back in the last frame. They started the first minute with a stepped-up rebounding effort at both ends. They were keeping plenty of pressure on the ball. They really turned up the thermostat. They cut a 23-point difference to 10 with just a minute left.
But the resurgence did not give them enough time to complete the take-back. And 4A Pontotoc had taken its toll on the 16-1 2A Byers. The final score of 60-48 dropped Byers to 16-2 and the Lady Warriors to 13-2.
The senior guard, Di’Amber Johnson, led Pontotoc with 19. She was followed by Rosado with 16.
Ryan paced the Lady Lions with 21, followed by Rachel Jones with 11.
Byers loses speedy shootout with Warriors
In the second game of the Oxford Round Robin, the Byers Lions faced the Warriors of Pontotoc. This was a game of speed from the starting gun. It was another 2A force versus a 4A force. Which one would burn out first?
They ran through the opening frame with a lightning pace. The Warriors had a 19-13 edge at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, scoring was just about even, but Byers did have the six-point deficit to dispose of. They did that and pulled dead even with the Warriors at 33-33 at intermission. During the entire second frame, Jarvis Ware, Justin Owens, Frederick Jones and Jessie Wilson ran the Warriors ragged. They matched Pontotoc point for point. Scoring was reciprocal. The Lions would sink one and the Warriors would return the favor. When the buzzer blasted to end the third, Byers was ahead 48-46.
The point-making was still balanced in the fourth. Owens gave the Lions a big boost when he hit a trey to put them ahead by two. But the Warriors still had their war bonnets on and they were still very much in the game. They matched Byers’ score and then raised them a pair to move out front 62-60.
In the very last seconds, Kelley Barnes sank a deuce to give Pontotoc a four-point lead. Owens came back and hit two treys for the Lions, but the final slam by the Warriors sealed it for Pontotoc. They won 68-66.
Barnes had the hottest shot for Pontotoc, sinking 22. Backing him up were Josh Green and Antonio Fisher with 11 each and James Elzie with 10.
Owens and Ware led the Lions with 18 each. He was followed by Jones with 16.
Byers sweeps 4A Itawamba Indians in second round
H.W. Byers team took a pair from 4A Itawamba Agricultural High School Friday at the tournament.
Jones’ 18 points led the Lady Lions to a 52-38 victory.
Byers trailed 27-24 at halftime but rallied for the win.
Owens’ 17 points topped the Lions’ attack in a 54-47 win over the Indians.
Teammates Demarius Scott and T.W. Bryson added 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Byers led 27-13 at the half.
The Lady Lions finished their run in the Oxford Round Robin with a third-round loss to the hosts.
The Lady Chargers started locating the bottom of the basket from the starting whistle. They ran off six quick unanswered points before the Lady Lions showed their claws. The Lady Lions then began cutting off the avenues of approach.
Byers began matching the Lady Chargers, overtook the spread and took the lead by one point. But the Lady Chargers knew their floor. They struck back with three deuces and a freebie to reclaim the lead 19-13 at quarter’s end.
Byers was playing excellent defense but their shots were not falling. And they were getting no help from the officiating crew. They were staring down the barrel of a double digit deficit when the halftime gong sounded. The intermission score was 43-29.
The Lady Lions really unsheathed the sharp claws in the third and they were playing up to their reputation.They were giving the 4A Lady Chargers all they wanted. They walked all over the 14-point difference and took a one-point lead on the strength Ciara Seldon’s accuracy from the trey plateau. The Lady Chargers led 57-52 at the end of three but the Lady Lions had out scored them 23-14.
Foul trouble took its toll in the fourth quarter. Byers lost Simone Ryan and two other players to the capricious whistles. With 4:26 left in the last quarter, Byers had been charged with 21 fouls and Oxford’s six. The Lady Chargers went on to win 73-69.
Seldon and Deanna Thompson (Oxford) shared high points honors with 27 each. Also Shefarrah turner hit 16 for Oxford and Tamara Wadlington had 11.
Ryan hit 10 for Byers and Marian Parker pitched in 14.
Byers Lions outdistanced by Oxford Chargers
If the first few minutes of this game were reliable indicators, then this one would be played above the rim. The leaping abilities of both teams bordered on the phenomenal.
The Oxford Chargers attempted to turn it into a “dunk contest” in the first quarter. They missed a few but the ones which they stuck made an emphatic statement. They owned a 26-16 first quarter lead.
The Lions were not taking the greatest care of the ball in the second quarter, but the real thorn was the fastbreak being run by the Chargers. Their big posts were grabbing rebounds and flinging them to fleeing guards. Also errant passes were not helping the Lions. They were behind 48-27 at intermission.
The Lions brought both fire and desire into the third frame and it was easily their best quarter. They even outscored the Chargers by three points. But it did not reduce the big Charger lead enough to cause concern. At the end of three it was 73-55.
The Lions kept hacking at the Chargers lead and they never gave up. But the 4A team proved just a little too much and they cruised to the 18-point victory at 102-84.
Justin Owens had a 31-point performance for the Lions, followed by other double figures shooters, Marvin Rayford with 17, Fred Jones with 13, and Demarius Scott with 11.
The Chargers’ balanced attack was led by Dan Hicks with 22, Justin Gillard with 17, Kenny Mullin Jr. with 14. Keith Searcy and Willis Certion had 10 each.
The Lady Lions (17-3), number one in the state in Class 2A, and the Lions (5-13) were scheduled to visit East Union on Tuesday. They travel to New Site Friday night. Next tuesday, Jan. 15, they host Marshall County rival Byhalia.
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