Thursday, November 19, 2009
Byhalia girls start year 2-0
By BARRY BURLESON
Byhalia varsity basketball teams tipped off their seasons with opposite results.
The Lady Indians beat DeSoto Central and Ashland while the Indians fell to the same two schools.
The Byhalia girls opened the campaign on the road November 7 and knocked off the Lady Jaguars 43-37.
“The ladies have been working hard and they did a good job,” said coach Markeith Washington, in his first season as head coach of both the Lady Indians and Indians. “The foundation was already laid here by coach (Summer) Pannell. This is a determined group.”
Pannell moved to an administrative position at Byhalia Middle School.
Erica Bougard led the Lady Indians in scoring with 14. Megan Rayford and Crystal Rayford added eight each.
The Byhalia girls then defeated Ashland 65-46 in their home opener November 10.
Bougard was again the top gun with 25 points. M. Rayford followed with 20 and Brianna Windham scored 13.
The Lady Indians led 40-11 at the half.
“I had the chance to play a lot of girls,” Washington said, “to get them experience and improve our depth.”
Washington called it a rebuilding season for the Byhalia boys. He replaces Michael Neal, who left for another job just prior to the start of the school year.
“We won the district last year and lost several seniors,” he said. “We do not have a lot of guys with varsity playing experience.
“The guys have been through a lot (with Coach Neal’s departure) and we got off to a late start.
“But we’re learning and growing together. I’ve put in a new system – playing 12 guys a game. After we get some experience and learn to play together, we will become a better team.”
The Indians dropped a 66-54 decision at DeSoto Central after trailing 37-26 at the half.
“We had a strong 19-8 run in the third quarter and actually tied the game at 45,” Washington said. “Foul trouble hurt us in the fourth quarter.
“It was not a bad season opener against a 6A team.”
Kenyatta Jones poured in 19 for Byhalia. Thomas Lesueur added 13.
The Indians then lost 65-50 to Ashland on Tuesday of last week at home.
“Ashland is a good, experienced team and very well coached,” Washington said. “They ran a full-court press, and we made some bad decisions.”
Byhalia trailed 46-26 at the half.
“We played better the second half,” he said. “Our temp was better. We started pressing them, too, and my guys are very aggressive.”
Alfonzie Wilson scored 11 for Byhalia. Brandon Bougard and Jones added eight each.
Byhalia has just two seniors – Bougard and Lesueur.
“Leaders will start to emerge,” Washington said, “and we just have to find the chemistry.”
Byhalia teams host Olive Branch Friday night and then host the Indian Tournament the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 27-28. A tournament schedule will be included in next week’s newspaper.
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