Thursday, Decemeber 10, 2009
Marshall County foes clash
By CLAUDE VINSON
Last Friday night, the Byhalia Lady Indians, under new head coach Markeith Washington, hosted veteran coach Jason Thompson and his defending state champions Lady Lions of H.W. Byers.
Both teams started off attacking the basket, both well aware of what the history of this rivalry means and entails. Byhalia was getting good looks and second opportunities, however the accuracy was not there. Both teams were quick on offense, but Byers was doing a better job of claiming offensive rebounds. This led to the Byers’ 13-6 lead at quarter’s end.
The Lady Indians had a spate of turnovers in the early part of the second. The Lady Lions were tracking the loose balls and Alexis Hardaway and Kourtney Coleman were turning them into points. The visitors had kept a 20-point differential throughout the first half, but the Lady Indians reduced it to 15 at the half, 31-16.
Offensive schemes became more patient and deliberate in the third quarter. Byers had a tighter defense and they were doing an excellent job of guarding the paint. They led 42-28 at the end of three.
The Lady Indians found a surge in the top of the fourth. Jasmine Humphreys peaked the home interest with back-to-back treys. This cut the lead to 10, the closest it had been since the first frame. The Lady Indians spurred the faithful more when they reduced it to six. But the Lady Lions have the reputation of arising to the occasion. The 2A champs, now in 1A, weren’t done. They roared back and extended it to 10 again with a little over three minutes left. The Lady Indians were also determined. Showing a toughness not evident against this county rival heretofore, they forged back again and Erica Bougard cut it to two with seconds left. Byers eked out the four-point margin of victory on two freebies by Precious Rodgers to finish it 55-51.
Coleman hit 16 for Byers, followed by Hardaway with 15, Kyra Gulledge with 11 and Rodgers with 10.
Brianna Windham and Humphreys led Byhalia with 11 apiece. Bougard had nine.
Indians fall to Byers
These teams do not forget for one second just what this game means. It transcends records, classes and districts. In this long standing rivalry, fireworks are expected from the outset. With new coaches on both benches, one has to feel that the two will feed off of each other’s energy. The Lions wasted little time in making the first moves. They had the early lead of 21-12.
In the second they were still matching pace to pace. Lions were fielding a smaller squad but they were very effective in tracking and trapping the ball. They increased the lead slightly to 40-27 at intermission.
Both of these teams appear to be adjusting to new systems in minimal time. There is noticeable improvement in each game. One can see the individual dedication from both squads.
In the third, the Indians kept chipping at the Lions lead but each and every time they made in roads, Byers turned some noteworthy feat to cool the progress and extend the margin. It was 55-46 at the end of the third.
To begin the fourth, there was a bit of rough play which appeared to be incidental and unintentional. However, it brought an unsportsmanslike act from a fan on the Byers’ side who was promptly escorted from the gym.
Byhalia left it all on the floor in the final period. Led by Wilson who gave them their first lead at 62-60 with a little over a minute left, the Indians brought out all of the tomahawks. It turned into a free for all. With the lead swinging like a pendulum, it turned into a fouling contest. Jeremy Williams, who had taken over for Byers in the stretch, gave them the boost and the win. They slipped by the 4A school at 69-67 for their second win of the season.
Williams’ 22 points led the Lions. He was aided by Andre Jones with 18 and Marcus Rayford with 15.
Wilson paced the Indians with 30, team mate Courtney Warren pitched in 13.
Byhalia traveled to Lafayette Tuesday and Byers headed for Blue Mountain.
Byhalia teams visit Olive Branch Friday and host Center Hill Monday.
Byers squads visit Myrtle Friday, host Ingomar next Monday and go to Ashland next Tuesday.
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