Thursday, January 21, 2010
Byers splits games at FedEx Forum
By BARRY BURLESON
H.W. Byers basketball teams enjoyed an NBA experience Friday.
The Lady Lions and Lions played Tunica Rosa Fort at the FedEx Forum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Byers girls won 46-32, while the boys lost 65-52. But this was more about the experience itself.
“This is something our kids will be able to reflect back on the rest of their lives,” said Jason Thompson, head coach of both Byers squads. “Not many high school players get the chance to play on an NBA court.
“It was a fantastic experience. We enjoyed it, and we’re already in discussions about doing it again next year.”
Kourtney Coleman’s experience of playing in bigger arenas paid off for the Lady Lions. She scored 27 of the team’s 46 points in their 14-point win.
Coleman, a junior, started in both ninth and 10th grades when the Byers girls won back-to-back state championships at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
“She has ‘Big House’ experience and that experience paid off,” Thompson said. “She played a big ball game. She was seven of eight from the free-throw line and had balanced scoring in every quarter.”
Alexis Hardaway added 11 points.
Byers (17-5) trailed 21-19 at the half but went on a huge 17-4 run in the third period.
The Class 1A Lions “clawed and scratched,” Thompson said, versus a talented 4A Rosa Fort squad but fell by 13 points.
The Byers boys were down 20-10 after one quarter, 33-24 at the half and 49-36 following three quarters.
Marcus Rayford poured in 24 points for the Lions.
H.W. Byers’ trip to Union County Tuesday of last week for district contests proved fruitful.
The Lady Lions downed West Union 43-38 and the Lions dominated the Eagles 92-47.
The Byers girls led 25-22 at the half and survived the long-scoring game.
“It was a close call,” Thompson said. “We just played good enough to win.”
Hardaway and Kyra Gulledge scored 15 and 10, respectively, to lead the Lady Lions, who are unbeaten in district play.
Thompson, in his first year of also coaching the Byers boys, liked what he saw from his Lions, who have struggled much of the season. They won by 45.
“The way we played against West Union, we could beat a lot of people,” Thompson said. “We competed.”
The Byers boys led 41-21 at the half and outscored West Union 35-13 in the third period.
Jeremy Williams was on fire for the Lions. He scored 28. Others in double figures were Chris Echols with 17, Rayford with 12 and Mitchell Wilson with 10.
Byers teams host Myrtle Friday and then go to Ingomar next Tuesday, Jan. 26.
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