Thursday, February 12, 2009
Holly High teams down rival Byhalia
By CLAUDE VINSON
The fortunes of this season’s battles have not been too kind to the Holly High Lady Hawks or the Byhalia Lady Indians.
Neither was breaking even on overall or regional records. The former was 11-15 overall and the latter was 9-15. But those stats could be moot in a game like this.
This was the last game of the regular season and probably the last home game for a few seniors. It was also senior night Friday and the home team, Holly Springs, was playing to an overflow crowd.
Both teams were in an accelerated mode. However, JaShanta Walker was playing “clean-up woman” from the outset. She was sticking back everything which fell behind the yellow cross bar in the paint. She accounted for all 12 points in the Lady Hawks’ 12-7 tally in the first frame.
The Lady Indians were getting good looks, but mostly opting for shots beyond the arc. Down by seven at one juncture in the second, Byhalia fought back to a one-point deficit. They were then given a one-point lead by Laporshea Malone at 17-16. But senior Katia Isom pulled up and popped one from trey land to make it 19-17 for the hosts. The Lady Indians’ Crystal Rayford beat the horn to bring it to a 19-19 tie at halftime.
The lead changed hands four times in the third before the Lady Indians decided to keep it by five until Holly High cut it to two at the period’s end (37-35).
There had been a low incidence of fouling throughout and both teams were giving the crowd a whale of a ball game. After a bit of a stalemate, Kayla Burns broke away and gave the Lady Hawks a tie. Tamekico Johnson followed up with another speedy deuce for a two-point lead. There were 14.7 ticks left when Byhalia erupted. The Lady Indians took a two-point lead but sent a Holly High shooter to the line. Both shots went awry, but Isom stuck the rebound back for a 49-49 tie and overtime.
In the fifth period, Byhalia got the first bucket but Walker tied it again and it was Lady Hawks after that, sealing it at the charity stripe 55-53.
Walker finished with 17 for the victors, Johnson with 12 and Isom with 10.
Malone led the floor for the Lady Indians with 24, backed by Rayford with 10 and Jessica Reynolds with eight.
Hawks complete sweep
Much like the James Fennimore Cooper epic “The Last of the Mohicans,” this would be the last of the regular season games with these two Marshall County rival teams as stars for the ’08-09 school year. There is an outside chance that these two could reprise their roles of a few years back when they battled each other all the way to the state championship.
If early play was any indicator, this was shaping up to be another close one. The Hawks had put up seven points to four for the visitors. But just when the Hawks thought they had it under wraps, the Indians started to beat a different drum. It resonated into a 15-12 lead at the end of the period.
The second quarter was a real scrabble. Each team showed some real mettle. They pushed the ball at each other; neither wanted to lose the bragging rights as the season waned. Just when it was looking like a 33-33 knot, each team sank another basket in quick succession to make it 35-35.
In the third, the Indians fell prey to the long ball from the Hawks. Timothy Oliver, Darius Dowdy and Shermaine Jones gave Holly High a 10-point spread at 51-41 and then went on to hold to the lead and up the tally at 56-46 at the end of three.
Early in the fourth quarter, Byhalia’s Jermone Marion was “double teched” and ejected from the game. The tandem freebies gave the Hawks a 66-52 margin with 5:04 left. The Indians seemed to have lost their medicine and the Hawks cruised to a 78-62 final.
Holly High’s Dowdy was out front with 19. Next was Oliver with 16. Marcus McKinney and Kentona Shipp rounded out the scoring with 12 and 10, respectively.
Mario Parker paced Byhalia’s attack with 20. Cornelius Blackmon struck for 16, and Marion hit for 10.
Both teams from Byhalia and Holly High will begin play in the Region 3-3A playoffs this week at Tunica.
The semi-final and final rounds are Thursday and Friday.
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