Thursday, January 29, 2009
Byers splits with Independence
By CLAUDE VINSON
H.W. Byers ran up an early lead after claiming the tipoff and head coach Jason Thompson began running in reserves almost immediately.
The Independence Lady Wildcats played the Lady Lions pretty close for the remainder of the opening period and evened the score at 13 apiece at quarter’s end.
The second frame saw the defensive game of the hosts fall apart. The Lady Lions were blowing past the Independence guards and going straight to the basket. They weren’t attempting very many threes. The biggest were coming from Rachel Jones and Amanda Jones.
The Lady Lions didn’t use a lot of man-to-man pressure and opted for a two-three defensive formation to outdistance the Lady ’Kats 38-25 at intermission.
The Lady Lions unsheathed the claws in the third and soon had their largest lead of the game at 52-29. They allowed the Lady ’Kats to score one more deuce and took advantage of Independence’s infractions to make it 54-31 at the completion of three. The Lady ’Kats were over committing in efforts to slow down the Byers drive. The Lady Lions were hitting almost 70 percent of their freebies.
The Lady ’Kats tried to answer Byers’ scoring in the last quarter but could only turn 13 points, while the visitors added 24 more for the final score of 78-44.
The win gave Byers its 34th straight regular season and playoff victory (excluding the Grand Slam loss), stretching back to the 2007-08 season.
The Lady Lions saw four shooters reaching the double figure plateau. Amanda Jones and Rachel Jones were first with 18 each. They were followed by Alexis Hardaway with 13 and Symone Gorman with 12. Kourtney Coleman had eight.
Camia O’Neal led Independence with 11, followed by Ricka Cole and Ykeysha Wooten, who had eight each.
The Lady Lions began a road campaign starting with Middleton (Tenn.) on Saturday and ending at Calhoun City on January 31. They play 5A Tupelo Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the Robinson Sportswear Classic at Ingomar High School.
Byers Lions fall
The Lions were trying to complete the sweep of the 3A teams at Independence but got off to a slow start, falling behind in the opening frame. They could not stop the long ball from beyond the arc, launched from the hands of Kyle Blount. The diminutive dynamo hit three of four attempts to give the Wildcats a 21-11 difference at quarter’s end.
Coach Sylvester Kilgore inserted Tedarian Bryson into the fray in the second quarter and after a few minutes it evolved into a three-ball war. Byers got help from beyond the big circle from Jarvis Ware, who planted three, Demarius Scott, who contributed one, and Bryson, who shot a pair. On the host’s side, Blount got two more, while Marvin Shorty and Londen Parker had two and one, respectively. This pushed the score to 44-39 at the half.
If the second frame had been one of shooting, the third was one of speed and rebounding. Parker was grabbing rebounds and dishing assists to Shorty and Blount. But the Lions were still very much in it and were only six points behind at 61-55 when the third ended.
Bryson was the force to be reckoned with in the final frame. He went to the line often and canned seven freebies down the stretch. It was not enough, however, and the Wildcats outlasted the Lions for a final score of 86-74.
Blount and Shorty each hit 24. All of Blount’s points came from treys. Jarvis Gardner threw in 12 for Independence and Parker finished with 11 points and eleven assists.
Bryson led the Lions with 26, while Scott added 15, Ware 13 and Fred Jones shot eight.
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