Thursday, February 21, 2008
Lady Lions beat Walnut, New Site
By CLAUDE VINSON
H.W. Byers High School was tagged to host this season’s Region 1-2A Tournament. The Lady Lions were the number two seed and the Lions were number 3. Both Belmont teams were seeded at the number one position and received “byes” in the first round.
The Lady Lions were pitted against the number seven Lady Wildcats of Walnut on opening night, Feb. 11. And the Lady Lions started the fireworks with a three bang from Ciara Seldon.
Right away head coach Jason Thompson was using his bench to wear the Lady Wildcats down. They were forcing turnovers but unfortunately they were also committing them. However, they escaped the first quarter with a narrow lead of 12-10.
The two players which have sparked the Lady Lions’ offense all season entered the rotation in the second quarter and the game took a decisive turn.
Simone Ryan and Rachel Jones went to work immediately. Plying their special brand of roundball shut the Lady Wildcats’ offense down as they ran up a 45-18 tally by half time.
After intermission, the Lady Lions threw Walnut under the bus. They gave them little or no chance to regroup. When the third ended, Byers was well ahead by a score of 67-26.
In the final frame, coach Thompson cleaned his bench. They cruised to the 85-39 final score.
Jones and Ryan posted 15 and 13 points, respectively, and Seldon added 12. Amanda Jones added nine. Twelve Lady Lions scored.
Haley Clanton led her Walnut team with 15.
The Lady Lions moved on to meet the New Site Lady Royals in the semis.
Byers defeats New Site, advances to finals
The Lady Lions took on New Site in the semi-finals of the Region 1-2A Tournament Thursday at H.W. Byers. Both teams were scrapping from the start.
There were high stakes in this contest. The winner would go on to the championship round on Friday and the loser would be relegated to the consolation bracket.
Defense was evident on both sides in the first quarter. Rachel Jones weaved her way through the defense fortifications of New Site and led the Lady Lions to a modest lead of 16-12 in the first frame. This was a lead that Byers would never relinquish during the entire contest.
Simone Ryan and Kourtney Coleman helped Jones step up the heat in the second quarter, holding the Lady Royals to eight points while they stuck 14.
When the whistle blew for intermission, the Lady Lions were in control at 36-24.
After the break, New Site was trying a patient offense. They were using the clock but were not adding points. The Lady Lions were stacked into an alert zone, tracking the ball but keeping a low fouling distance. They left the third with a 51-37 margin.
In the last stanza, the Lady Lions slowed it to a snail’s pace. They did a masterful job of keeping the ball in the backcourt and away from the New Site post players. They added 13 more points to cruise to the 64-50 victory.
Jones led the field with 23. Ryan threw in 12 and grabbed 16 rebounds. Ciara Seldon hit nine and Coleman registered eight.
Bree Harris paced the Lady Royals with 18. Backing her up was Ashley Ables with 12. Darrah Pharr and Carleigh King hit eight each.
The win propelled the Lady Lions into the championship game with Belmont.
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