Thursday, December 30, 2010
Showdown at Byers
By BARRY BURLESON
Things were not looking good for the host team in the opening game of the Mississippi Magic Citi Showdown.
The H.W. Byers Lady Lions fell behind Clyde Miller Career Academy by 11 points Tuesday night, Dec. 21, with about five minutes to go in the third quarter.
“We were about to get steamrolled in our own gym,” coach Jason Thompson said.
He called a timeout and had a few words of advice for his team – focused on “holding down the fort” at home.
“I told them, ‘let’s get together and go to work.’”
The Lady Lions indeed went to work – rallying for a 54-47 win over the Lady Phoenix of St. Louis, Mo.
“We finally dug in and put our heels down against a very good team,” Thompson said.
Abria Gulledge’s long-range bomb sliced Byers’ deficit to 37-31 with 3:50 left in the third.
At the 1:32 mark, Madison McCreless scored on a fast break to knot the game at 37 and force a Clyde Miller timeout.
The Lady Lions took the lead for good with 1:16 to go in the third quarter when Precious Rodgers scored, was fouled and hit the free throw. It was 40-37.
Richenda Crutcher’s lay-up stretched the margin to nine with a minute remaining in the game before Byers won by seven.
The Lady Lions outscored the Lady Phoenix 28-17 in the second half.
Coleman and Rogers were the top point producers for the host team with 15 and 14, respectively. Coleman hit two crucial threes to open the second quarter. McCreless added nine points in the game.
“That was two great teams, two hard-working team and two very similar teams,” Coach Thompson said. “We were fortunate to come out on top.”
He said his Lady Lions should have been ahead by eight or 10 at the half.
“Free-throw shooting in the first half killed us,” he said. “I told them at halftime that we need to make the other team beat us and not beat ourselves.
“In the last 11 or 12 minutes of the game, we stepped it up and rallied around one another.”
Byers improved to 10-3 going into two more games in the Mississippi Magic City Showdown Wednesday and Thursday of last week versus Campbell (Ga.) and Millington (Tenn..
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