Thursday, December 18, 2008
Lady Lions win, boys lose versus Class 4A Oxford
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Lady Lions extended their winning streak to 13 December 9 and continued their dominance over area teams.
This time it was the 4A Lady Chargers of Oxford who felt the attack of the cats. Head coach Jason Thompson’s Lady Lions were looking to sharpen their claws on some Lady Chargers.
The Lady Lions came out in the first quarter showing championship form. They were perhaps still a bit euphoric after picking up their third straight title in the Bi-County Tournament held at Ashland. Kourtney Coleman led the early thrust, attracting the major portion of the Lady Chargers’ attention with her play in the paint. The sophomore was emulating the performance of Simone Ryan, who worked that position the season before. They ended the quarter with a 14-9 mark.
Byers went down in production in the second frame, actually falling behind by seven points at one juncture. But a couple of treys by Coleman and Brionne Gulledge, respectively, brought them back quickly. Oxford was mounting a stifling 2-3 defense which was keeping the Lady Lions’ play outside. Byers was not connecting on many shots from beyond the arc. Coach Thompson had been mixing new combinations since the beginning of the second quarter. Then with less than a minute left, Kenyatta Gulledge tied it at 30-all for the halftime score.
In the third, Byers went back to the hard pressure defense. Between Amanda Jones’ steals and treys and Rachel Jones’ hustle, the Lady Lions owned a 50-39 lead by the time the clock neared the ending of the third quarter. They held Oxford to two points and added five in their column to make it 55-41.
The subbing continued in the final frame and the Lady Lions were showing outstanding court perception while giving young Lions much needed experience against a tough team. They held on to post a 61-52 final score, their second win over Oxford this season.
The Jones girls again led Byers’ scoring tally – Amanda with 20 and Rachel with 18. Alexis Hardaway, the freshman, followed with 11 and Coleman had seven.
The loss dropped Oxford to 4-4 on the season.
Lions fall to Chargers
The H.W. Byers teams had split with 4A Oxford when they played them in Faulkner country. Tonight’s saga was playing out a bit differently.
The Lions matched the Chargers point for point then put some distance between them. The Lions’ faithful really got into it when Fred Jones slammed a two-hander from above the rim on an “ally oop” feed from Tedarian Bryson. Byers took the first quarter 24-18.
Oxford, perhaps feeling pressure from its stellar history on the courts, turned up the thermostat in the second. They got a dunk from Brandon Blake and then held off the Lions’ defense to cut into the deficit. The Chargers had a bench loaded with big post players. They started blocking the Lions from the paint and cut the six-point difference to a single point at intermission. The score was 41-40.
The Lions were beginning to show signs of wear and tear. Blake and Keith Searcy (a “Dandy Dozen” member), were doing a lot of damage on the inside. They out-danced the Lions by 12 points in the third to take 60-48 margin.
Oxford really unloaded in the fourth. The much bigger and more physical team than the 2A Lions had taken its toll. It is to the Lions’ credit that they did not fade. They still defended and attacked, however, the ensuing fouls gave the Chargers many line opportunities. They cruised to a final score of 83-61.
Leading Byers were Andre Jones with 16 points, Fred Jones with 12 and Marcus Rayford with 12.
The Chargers went to 8-3 on the season.
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