Thursday, December 3, 2009
Lady Lions knock off Lausanne
By BARRY BURLESON
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions have never shied away from the bigger schools.
Last week coach Jason Thompson’s Class A squad went to Memphis, Tenn., and Tishomingo County to battle some more. The Lady Lions won three of four and improved their early season record to 7-2.
“Playing against super competition makes us better,” said Thompson, who led his Byers girls to Class AA state championships the past two seasons. “It lets us know where we are and what we need to fix. After the weekend we know some things we need to do better.”
The Tennessee Turkey Jam included a 61-48 win over Lausanne Collegiate School (of Memphis) Friday and a 54-45 loss to Hillsboro (of Nashville, Tenn.) Saturday.
The Lady Lions outscored Lausanne 32-19 in the second and third quarters and held on for the 13-point victory.
Five Byers girls scored in double figures – Alexis Hardaway with 20, Precious Rodgers with 15, Kourtney Coleman with 13 and Kyra Gulledge with 10. Gulledge also had 20 rebounds, five blocked shots and five steals. Coleman grabbed 10 rebounds.
Two teams ranked in the “ESPN Rise Fab 50” preseason rankings met Saturday in Memphis. Byers, 45th in the country, gave Hillsboro, ranked 20th, all it could handle before falling by nine.
“We got the invitation to play in this tournament and we jumped at it,” Thompson said. “It was a good exposure for our girls and Marshall County. It’s a showcase of ranked teams competing in the early season. We definitely played two talented teams and the games brought us a challenge.”
The Lady Lions led 31-27 at the half but “missed opportunities” were costly down the stretch against the defending Class 3A state champs from Tennessee.
“We had our chances to win the ball game,” he said. “We missed some box-outs and some free throws, and we got in foul trouble. We scrapped and clawed as best we could, but Hillsboro just played better in the fourth quarter.”
Coleman scored 15 points for Byers.
In the Tishomingo County Thanksgiving Tournament last week, the Lady Lions defeated bigger schools Corinth and New Hope.
Five players scored in double digits as the Byers girls routed Corinth 76-45 on Monday of last week.
Leading the offensive outburst were Kyra Gulledge with 19, Coleman with 18, Hardaway with 17, Brionne Gulledge with 11 and Rodgers with 10.
The Lady Lions outscored the Lady Warriors 29-6 in the second quarter.
The next night, November 24, Byers dominated New Hope 60-35.
Coleman poured in 22 points. Kyra Gulledge had 16 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Hardaway added 10.
Coach Thompson said Kyra Gulledge, a sophomore, played against New Hope’s 6’4” player, who is listed in the top 20 players in the nation in the sophomore class and held her to just seven points.
He was pleased with his team’s effort last week.
“We tackled some giants and came out OK,” Thompson said.
The H.W. Byers Lions dropped two games in the Tishomingo Thanksgiving Tournament and saw record drop to 0-6.
Thompson took over the job of coaching the boys just a couple of weeks ago.
“We’re a work in progress,” he said. “We’re trying to piece some things together in hopes of getting better after Thanksgiving.
“This is a young but talented team. I’m trying to implement a system that plays toward their strengths. It’s a learning process for me and for them.”
The Lions fell behind 21-10 after one quarter Monday of last week and dropped a 97-77 decision to Corinth.
Jeremy Williams had a game-high 31 points for Byers. Shantez Hearn and Marcus Rayford added 14 and 13, respectively.
The Byers boys then lost 65-50 to Tishomingo County on Tuesday night of last week.
Once again, they fell behind early, 21-9 after one quarter, and could not rally.
Rayford and Hearn scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Lions.
Byers teams visit county rival Byhalia Friday night. Next Tuesday, Dec. 8, they go to Blue Mountain.
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