Thursday, February 5, 2009
Lady Lions 25-2
By BARRY BURLESON
Jason Thompson, his team coming off a disheartening loss to Class 5A Tupelo the night before, chose to first dwell on the positive Sunday afternoon.
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions, defending Class 2A state champs, are 25-2 entering the final week of the regular season.
“We’ve played 19 games on the road against tough competition in hostile environments and only eight games at home out of 27,” Thompson said. “We’re 17-2 on the road and 8-0 at home. I think if you told me at the start of the season that’s where we’d be, I’d take it.”
The latest away contest was Saturday night – this one at Ingomar High School versus Tupelo in the Robertson Sportswear and Renasant Bank Challenge. The Lady Lions lost 52-51 to the Lady Wave in overtime.
Byers built a 14-13 advantage after one quarter and led 26-22 at halftime. They maintained that four-point advantage through the third period. But Tupelo tied the contest in the closing seconds of regulation and won it in OT.
Thompson was upset with the officiating, particularly during crucial moments in the fourth quarter and in the extra period.
“Tupelo is a good team; give them credit, but they got all the calls,” he said. “They’re one of the largest schools in the state, and we’re just a small school trying to make a name for ourselves.
“We got a raw deal on the whistles. The officiating down the stretch helped affect the outcome of the game.”
Leading Byers were Rachel Jones with 19 points and Kourtney Coleman with 15. Amber Jackson scored 29 for Tupelo (21-4).
Rachel Jones and Jackson were named to the All-Challenge First Team, along with Lanita Futrell of Coldwater, Jessi Hayles of South Pontotoc and Anne Panagon of Briarcrest Christian.
Another positive for the Lady Lions came Friday night on the road – at Region 1-2A rival Belmont. H.W. Byers used a 22-3 run in the third quarter to knock off the host school 52-48.
The Lady Lions (5-0 in district) fell behind 10-0 after one quarter and trailed 31-16 at the half.
“I helped dig the hole to start the game,” Thompson said. “I had them playing timid, worried about fouls. After I realized they were calling the game safe, I knew we could either go down worse or fight back.”
He turned to one of his team’s trademarks – full-court pressure.
“We put pressure on the ball, went on the third-quarter run, took the lead, and never gave it up.”
Rachel Jones tossed in 16 points. Amanda Jones added eight and Symone Gorman seven. Anna Brooke Page had 16 for Belmont (17-8). Leslie Robinson scored 12.
On Tuesday of last week, the Byers Lady Lions invaded Walnut and eased to the 96-39 win.
Byers led 62-21 at the half.
Scoring in double figures were Amanda Jones with 17, Ciara Seldon with 15, Rachel Jones with 13, Coleman with 12 and Alexis Hardaway with 12.
H.W. Byers Lions
Coach Sylvester Kilgore’s Lions surpassed the century mark on Tuesday night, Jan. 27, at Walnut.
Byers bombed the home team 105-48.
The lead was 41-28 at the half. Then the Lions outscored Walnut 29-13 in the third quarter and 35-7 in the fourth.
Demarius Scott was the top gun for the winning squad. He scored 28. Other in double digits were Fred Jones with 19, Robert Tenilton Jr. with 12, T.W. Bryson with 11 and Mitchell Wilson Jr. with 10. Scott, Jones, Tenilton and Bryson all had nine rebounds each.
The Lions then dropped a 78-65 decision Friday night at Belmont.
Byers grabbed the momentum in the first quarter. The visitors were up 19-16. But Belmont went on a 27-17 run in the second quarter and a 26-13 run in the third to secure the victory.
Bryson and Fred Jones led the Lions (8-15, 3-2 in district) with 15 points each. Scott scored 12.
The Belmont Cardinals, who improved to 15-9, got 20 points each from Jarvis Southward and John Harrison.
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