Thursday, December 4, 2008
Indians battle Missouri squads
By BARRY BURLESON
Coach Michael Neal took his Byhalia Indians on a long road trip during Thanksgiving break and came up short versus two of Missouri’s best.
The Indians lost 77-70 to Scott County Central Friday and 61-55 to Pacific Saturday. They were competing in the Riverbend Classic at New Madrid, Mo.
“It was a good experience for us,” said Neal, whose team went to 4-4 on the season. “Playing good teams there will help us in the district. We will be OK. You can’t run from good competition. It was a good measuring tool for us. We can see what we need to work on.”
Scott County Central has won 14 state titles, Neal said. They went 28-3 last year.
“They were a real aggressive team,” he said. “We had problems in the first half with their press. But we settled down and had the opportunity to win.”
Byhalia trailed 44-37 at the break but rallied to lead 66-64 in the second half. Scott County Central then went on a 6-0 run and “we couldn’t recover,” Neal said.
He said his Indians came out flat Saturday and lost by six to Pacific.
“We were exhausted from playing Friday night and had no rhythm,” he said. “We couldn’t make shots.”
He said his team could have won both games but playing the tough teams early in the season will hopefully pay off in the Bi-County Tournament this week and the district slate to follow.
The Byhalia boys are the defending champs in the Bi-County, which is set for Thursday-Saturday at Ashland. The Indians host Holly Springs next Tuesday, Dec. 9.
“We’re battle tested,” Neal said. “We’ll be ready (for the Bi-County).”
On Saturday night, Nov. 22, the Indians dropped a home contest to Olive Branch 67-52.
Byhalia led 7-0 early and trailed 34-31 at the half.
“It was closer than the score indicates,” he said. “We had to foul at the end.”
The Lady Indians also lost to Olive Branch to close out the pre-Thanksgiving portion of their schedule.
The Byhalia girls open play in the Bi-County Friday at 7 p.m. They will face the Ashland versus Hickory Flat winner in the semi-finals. The boys also get a bye. They will play the Ashland-Holly High survivor Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the semi-finals.
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