Thursday, March 19, 2009
Lady Lions end season at 35-5
By CLAUDE VINSON
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions went one and out in the 2008 Grand Slam in Tupelo. This year it was a different story.
This year the series to determine the best in the state returned to “The Big House” in Jackson after a quarter of a century absence.
Both the Class 2A Lady Lions and the Class 1A Lady Bulldogs of McAdams were still basking in the glow of their recent state championships.
The Lady Lions came out and took an early lead of 7-0 Thursday, but the Lady Bulldogs shook off a lackadaisical start and began finding the bottom of the net. They bounced back and took a brief 8-7 lead and added seven more points to six for Byers to end the first at 15-13.
Amanda Jones picked up her third foul in the early part of the second frame and had to go to the bench. But Ciara Seldon, who was hot from the trey plateau, unleashed a couple more three balls and helped the Lady Lions reclaimed the lead at halftime with a 32-31 mark.
The third stanza saw some tit for tat scoring. The fouling had picked up and Byers was having the better of it at the charity stripe. However, the scoring was still flopping back and forth and the Lady Bulldogs came away with a better total of 15 points to Byers’ 13. The score was favoring McAdams at 46-45, but the Lady Lions were still undaunted. They were seemingly taking it in stride.
In the fourth and final quarter, the Lady Lions started to show the form which had dismantled Kemper County in the state championship and which had brought them to this point. They still had some mistakes which were costly and allowed the Lady Bulldogs to remain too close for comfort. Ultimately, they put the onus clearly on McAdams.
The Lady Bulldogs could not erase the two- to four-point differential between the two. Byers had the ball and a four-point lead with 30 seconds left on the clock. McAdams got to the line just one more time and was able to sink just one. After that time ran out and the Lady Lions had their first Grand Slam win at 66-63.
Byers had five shooters in double figures. The leading marksman was Seldon with 15 (all threes). Alexis Hardawy scored 13; Amanda Jones had 12; and Rachel Jones and Kourtney Coleman had 10 each.
McAdams, which ended the season with a 35-2 record, was led by Kierra Gilmore’s 20, followed by Kanesha Phillips’ 18 and Dierra Gilmore’s 12.
The win put Byers (35-4) into the semifinals against Raymond (3A champions) on Friday.
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