Thursday, March 5, 2009
Byers clears first hurdle at state
By CLAUDE VINSON
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions began their quest for a repeat crown in “The Big House” in an early morning game (9 a.m.) Tuesday, Feb. 24, going against the Lady Bulldogs of Bay Springs.
Two of Byers’ cheerleaders, Dominique Mull and Olivia Cunningham, were given the special honor of trooping the colors to open the contest.
The Lady Lions were clearly in a defensive frame of mind. They were grabbing every rebound within sight. Although the shooting at the line was not very consistent, the floor shooting was effective enough to account for a 24-12 margin at the end of the first stanza. The Lady Dawgs couldn’t put together a defensive scheme which would slow down the Lady Lions.
Byers’ front five was starting to connect from beyond the arc with Ciara Seldon being the most accurate. When the horn signaled intermission, Byers had a solid lead at 46-26. The Lady Lions had out-rebounded their opponents 31-17 for the first two periods. Also the line shooting had improved to plus-50 percent.
The third quarter was not kind at all to the Lady Dawgs. They lost one of their starters (Kaci McCurdy) to fouls in the early part and their star (Shumond Hughes) near the end. Their departure created a void and they scored only nine points in the period. Byers had a 24-point lead at 59-35.
Byer’s point production had fallen off, too (13 points in the third), and some Lady Lions appeared a little timid. It could have been “whistle fear.” The game officials were really exercising their lungs.
However, their composure returned to a certain extent in the fourth, and they went on to a 78-53 victory.
Byers’ star and Dandy Dozen player Rachel Jones was hampered by the flu. However, she still turned in an admirable performance.
With the win, Byers had taken its first step on the road to a possible repeat of a 2A championship. The last 2A girls team to accomplish such a feat was Choctaw Central when it was a member of the 2A Class in ’96 and ’97.
Amanda Jones led Byers (32-4) with 19, followed by Kourtney Coleman with 15, Rachel Jones with 12 and Seldon with 11.
Taquita Collier led Bay Springs with 14. Shumond Hughes and Londyn Thomas had 10 points each for the Lady Dawgs (18-12).
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