Thursday, February 26, 2009
Lady Lions second in north
By CLAUDE VINSON
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions hosted the Lady Eagles of West Bolivar at the Lions’ Den on Monday night, Feb. 16, to open the play in the North Half of Class 2A.
Ciara Seldon opened with a trey via a breakaway steal from Amanda Jones and an assist from Rachel Jones. Seldon went to the same corner twice more and stuck her third trey. Coach Jason Thompson ran in four reserves and the scoring continued. It appeared as if the Lady Lions couldn’t miss even if they had been blindfolded. This accounted for the lopsided score of 32-4 at the end of the first quarter.
Byers slowed the pace a little in the second quarter but Rachel Jones had handed out a half dozen assists by the time intermission rolled around. The score was 49-10.
West Bolivar discontinued their attempts to keep pace with the speedy Lady Lions and settled into a defensive zone. It did little to aid their scoring and the margin between the two was 64-16 at the end of three.
Thompson had subbed an entire five near the end of the third. The fresh five kept the rout going. Every Lady Lion scored on Byers’ way to a final tally of 91-21.
Alexis Hardaway paved the way for Byers with 24. Symone Gorman and Kourtney Coleman had 14 and 10, respectively. Seldon had nine, all threes.
The Lady Eagles ended their season with a 27-12 mark. Byers was coming off its recent win of the Region 1-2A championship.
Lady Lions fall in title game
The championship match of the North State was played on Saturday night between the host New Site Lady Royals and the defending champ Lady Lions. Both had already secured tickets to “The Big House” for the Class 2A State Tournament. New Site had earned their first ever trip and Byers, the defending state champ, had secured its third straight.
The Lady Royals were trying to make a statement in their boarding of the championship train and like Byers, came out in a full press from the tip. New Site was getting most of the calls and going to the line early and often. And they were cashing all the free checks. They missed two out of 21 over the course of the contest. The score was dead even at 17 when the first period ended.
Lady Royal Krystal Jackson really stepped up in the second quarter. She was slicing through the lane and making close in baskets because the Lady Lions were trying to avoid the whistle. Jackson had given the Lady Lions problems in their title tilt a week earlier when Byers won by a score of 67-52. The Lady Royals took a 35-31 lead into the locker room at intermission.
When the third frame kicked off, New Site was taking a more tactful role. They were holding the ball outside to free up a player to rush the paint. The Lady Lions were not using their usual crushing defense. The Lady Royals still led by four at the end of three at 48-44.
The defensive pressure changed in the last three minutes of the fourth quarter. But Jackson had been joined by Darrah Pharr in the forays up the middle and they were still being flawless at the charity stripe. New Site went into the bonus in the last 30 seconds of the quarter and it helped their cause. They eked out the hotly-contested 65-60 win.
Jackson’s 22 points led the floor.
Amanda Jones led Byers with 13, while Rachel Jones had 12, Symone Gorman 11 and Ciara Seldon 10.
The Lady Lions were scheduled to play their first game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Cellular South State Basketball Championships on Tuesday of this week at 9:30 a.m. at “The Big House” (Mississippi Coliseum).
Sports Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Mesdames Katie Mooreland, Christy Fleming and Lori Nix for staffing such an outstanding Hospitality Suite.
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