Thursday, February 8, 2008
Byers girls lose to Belmont in battle for district lead
By CLAUDE VINSON
This was probably the most highly touted girls basketball game in North Mississippi this season.
Belmont and H.W. Byers had identical and unblemished records in the region and this would be the first meeting between the two this season. Both also have enviable season records.
The tip in this one went out to the Lady Lions and they sank the first deuce. Belmont retaliated with a trey from Rumae Butler. It was clear this was not going to be a waltz for either team. They sparred with each other for the entire first frame, going into a 17-17 tie.
The second quarter saw Byers pulling away. They ran up a six-point lead twice and managed a 31-28 mark at intermission.
Near the end of the third frame, Zoe Hammock pulled Belmont even with Byers at 40 all. Byers was in the penalty and making good at their attempts.
But the Lady Cardinals were still aggressive on defense and were bottling up Simone Ryan in the lane. Ryan was being doubled and sometimes tripled in the paint. Belmont completed the third with a one-point lead at 41-40.
The fourth quarter became torrid. It was a battle all the way between possibly the two best girls teams in North Mississippi.
There was less than a minute left and Byers had a one-point lead, but suffered a critical turnover. Anna Page scored for Belmont and was fouled in the lane. She completed the old fashioned three-pointer to the utter delight of the large Belmont contigent. That put the visitors up by two at 51-49.
Byers had a chance to tie but missed. Byers stuck it back but the ball balanced precariously on the rim and fell off. The Lady Lions had to resort to fouling and they sent Belmont to the line one last time with Page dropping the pair for the 53-49 win.
The loss gave the Lady Lions their first Region 1-2A loss (4-1). They went to 23-4 overall. Belmont remained unbeaten (5-0) in the region and improved to 19-4 overall.
These two will probably meet each other again in the playoffs. Byers had knocked Belmont out of the playoffs last season.
Kourtney Coleman led Byers with 12, followed by Rachel Jones with 11. Ryan was held to seven points.
Pacing Belmont was Page with 19, followed by Kallie Montgomery with 11 and Jasmine Holliday with 10.
Lions fall to Cardinals
In a fast-paced contest, the Cardinals of Belmont took a fourpoint lead about midway through the first quarter due to the accuracy of Derek Joslin from trey land. The Cardinals took the first stanza 19-13.
The Lions had plenty of hustle, but they were short on defense, especially at the Cardinals’ basket. And they were allowing the visitors too many opportunities to thwart many of their fast breaks. They did make some adjustments and escaped the first half with a 29-25 lead.
After intermission, the Lions kept out front with a very thin lead the entire third quarter, finishing with a 45-41 margin.
The fourth could have been a replay of the girls’ game. Teams traded baskets and leads. Halfway through it was tied at 51. Then Belmont took advantage of every Byers’ miscue and ended up with the win 62-57.
Tederian Bryson led the Lions with 15, Fred Jones had 11, Justin Owens 10 and Marvin Rayford nine.
Ryan Patterson and Ellis Pettie had 15 each and Joslin threw in 14.
Belmont improved to 5-0 in the region and 14-6 overall. Byers dropped to 3-2 in the region and 8-16 overall.
Byers sweeps Southaven
The Byers girls bounced back Saturday and knocked off Class 5A Southaven 48-33 at home.
Ryan poured in 16 points as coach Jason Thompson’s team improved to 24-4 on the season.
And the Byers boys bounced back, too. Coach Sylvester Kilgore’s team beat Southaven 81-70 and improved to 9-16 overall.
Rayford scored 26, including 13 of 14 from the free-throw line. Others in double digits were Owens with 21, Bryson with 13 and Jones with 10.
Byers teams visited district foe Mantachie Tuesday. They host Independence Friday to wrap up the regular season. They host the Region 1-2A Tournament next week, Feb. 11-15.
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