Thursday, November 19, 2009
Byers-Ashland split on hardwood
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Lady Lions of H.W. Byers started their 2009-10 season with a contest on their home court.
It would be the second game for their opponents, the Lady Blue Devils of Ashland. The Lady Devils have a new head coach in Guyton Wilkerson, formerly of the Hickory Flat Lady Rebels.
Lady Lions win
The beginning was fast paced from both teams but neither was having luck finding the nets. Two minutes had lapsed before Kyra Gulledge bucketed the first two for the Lady Lions. Byers pitched in four more before Alexis Hardaway struck from trey land to go to a 9-0 lead. The Lady Devils got two buckets in, one at the buzzer to avoid a first quarter shutout. Byers led 11-4.
Scoring picked up for Ashland in the second frame, but also for the Lady Lions with Gulledge and Hardaway going to the nets often from close in. They moved out to a 10-point lead at 27-17 at intermission.
The teams had worked out some of the kinks from the first two frames; however, there was still quite a bit of unsteadiness. Brionne Gulledge was establishing herself as the long ball shooter. She stuck her fourth trey halfway through the third quarter. Kiana Jones was keeping the Lady Devils in the game with her fast breaks and skill at the charity stripe. Jones broke away and laid one in at the buzzer to further cut into Byers’ sizeable lead, taking it down to seven points at 42-35 at the end of three.
The pace had cooled considerably in the final period. Coach Jason Thompson’s Lady Lions were setting up and running plays from the front court, looking for the clean shots. They ended with three shooters in double figures, Kyra Gulledge with 20, Hardaway with 16 and Brionne Gulledge with 14.
Jones led Ashland with 16, hitting ten of those from the freebie line. Shonteareo Perry and Trenise Hampton had eight each.
The final score was 55-47 in favor of the defending 2A champs, now in Class 1A.
Lions fall to Devils
The Byers and Ashland contest was rough and tumble from the starting whistle. Both teams had new head coaches on the sidelines – James Kimbrough for the Lions and Kenji Wells for the Blue Devils. Wells had led the Eagles of Galena for five seasons prior to coming to Ashland. Kimbrough, coach of the Byers football team, takes over for Sylvester Kilgore.
The teams swapped short leads during the entire first period. The eagerness and speed didn’t translate into points. The score was knotted at 11. Ashland drew a tech and the Byers’ shooter couldn’t connect on either one and the first quarter ended 11-11.
In the second frame when things were slowing down, Jeremy Williams gave the Blue Devils a one-point lead on a breakaway dunk. It caused an immediate celebration from the Ashland faithful. It also resulted in a tech against Ashland. Jeremy Williams, this one of the home team, brought the Lions to within one about 20 seconds before the horn sounded intermission. The Blue Devils had the 35-34 lead.
The momentum had favored the visitors in the first half, but somehow it shifted to the home team. Andre Jones and Mitchell Wilson came off of the bench and the rebounding improved greatly for the Lions. They steadily increased their newfound lead to the delight of the home crowd, through the prowess of Williams and Marcus Rayford, who gave them further reason to shout, with a long looping trey that moved Byers to a 10-point lead. The third ended with Byers out front 56-47.
But the Blue Devils wouldn’t wilt and go away. They kept battling back. They took the lead with less than three minutes left. Both squads lost players to fouls, but the Blue Devils hung on for the 74-70 victory.
Ashland had three players in double figures, Ted Parker with 14, Silas Fifer with 13 and Williams with 11.
Williams led the Lions with 29, followed by Rayford with nine.
Byers teams hosted the Indians and Lady Indians of Byhalia on Tuesday of this week. They invade Holly Springs Friday, starting at 6 p.m. The Lady Lions play New Albany in the West Union Challenge Saturday.
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