Thursday, November 25, 2010
Rivals split OT battles
By CLAUDE VINSON
Classifications are not the issue when two long standing rivals meet on the hardwood.
Byhalia and Byers are a few classes removed from each other but one would never know it when they are on the opposite sides of the ball. They played hard from the very beginning Tuesday of last week.
Lady Lions win
The Byers girls moved to a five-point lead, largely on the three-point shooting of Abria Gulledge. Her efforts put the Lady Lions out front 15-10 at the end of the first.
The Lady Indians soon erased the deficit and took the lead. It then bounced back and forth with Tara Jones giving Byhalia the one-point edge at intermission at 31-30.
If the pace had been fast before, it intensified in the third period. The score was still close and on a teeter-totter. The Lady Indians managed to get out of the third with a three-point margin at 46-43.
Abria Gulledge knotted it when she hit her fourth trey at the opening of the fourth. She followed it with her fifth a few seconds later. The Lady Lions (2-1) were trying hard to give the Lady Indians (2-0) their first defeat of the young season.
It was 57-57 with 12 seconds left. Byhalia called time to set the play. Shondricka Sessom broke free and planted what should have been the game winner, however, Precious Rodgers (perhaps living up to her name), took the in-bound pass coast to coast and beat the clock to send it to a fifth frame at 59-59.
The Lady Lions kept the partisan crowd on its collective feet as they rattled off point after point to take a 70-59 lead. The Lady Indians appeared to have run out of steam as the Byers ladies moved their record to 3-1, making a final score of 72-64.
Kourtney Coleman led Byers with 20. Next was Abria Gulledge with 19 and Kyra Gulledge with 12.
Megan Rayford led the visitors with 17, followed by Crystal Rayford with 15. Quasneshia Neely had 11.
Perhaps not the best way to start a rivalry game, the Indians drew a “tech” for pre-game dunking. However, this didn’t give the home team any early advantage. As a matter of fact, for three-fourths of the opening period, Byers seemingly couldn’t buy a basket. Chris Echols finally got them out of the drought with a trey. The Indians kept padding the score and Kenyatta Jones delighted the reservation with a pair off monster slams and a pair of treys. Make that a trio, he picked up another at the start of the second period. The Indians were in front 20-9 after the first.
K. Jones was fast proving that he had a monopoly on the long ball. He planted a couple more before intermission to make it 40-27.
The Lions became more methodical in the third. They were still missing a bushel of lay-ups and close-ins but somehow they cut the Indians’ lead to 11 at one juncture. It was 53-41 at the end of three.
Echols took it below double digits with an old fashion three to start the final period, making it 60-53. The Lions kept finding ways to cut the deficit. They had cut it to 64-60 and then it came down to a one-digit difference in favor of Byhalia. After Byhalia gained a point at the charity stripe, Echols made a tricky lay-up, was fouled and then added a point after. The one-point advantage now belonged to Byers at 73-72.
Courtney Warren hit one of two freebies to tie and send it to an extra inning. Play was really heated throughout the extra period.
Byers had an 81-80 lead, then an 83-80 lead, until K. Jones dunked one, stole a ball and sank the winning basket to make it 84-83.
Coach Donald Bryant, new head coach of the Indians, remarked about picking up his first win, “I had heard that these rivalries within the county were rough, but man. They are also rough outside the county. We ran into strong opposition against Ashland, too.”
The Lions, showing marked improvements, had four shooters in double figures – Shantez Hearn with 22, Echols with 19, Robert Penilton with 17 and Anthony Mabon with 14.
K. Jones paced the Indians with 25 (including five treys). Warren was next with 16, and Jamerson Euell had 12.
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