Thursday, February 18, 2010
Hawks finish second, advance
By CLAUDE VINSON
High school basketball teams started regional play last week throughout the state. The Region 3-3A playoffs were held at Holly Springs High School gymnasium.
The tournament at Holly High was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 9, but was delayed one day because of inclement weather. Four teams received first round “byes” – Palmer and Independence (girls) and Holly High and Cleveland East Side (boys).
The Holly High Lady Hawks were defeated by the East Side Trojanettes 62-46 in the first game Wednesday. Top scorers for the Lady Hawks were Shakerra Dawkins with 17 and Rachel Selman with 10.
The M.S. Palmer Dragons eliminated the Ruleville Tigers 61-55. In the third game it was Lady Tigers vs. Lady Tigers and Charleston defeated Ruleville by the score of 44-38. The last game of the evening was Charleston Tigers against the Wildcats of Independence. The Tigers prevailed 57-51.
On Thursday, the East Side Trojanettes matched up with the Lady Wildcats of Independence. It was a testy contest from the start and would be the only game in the tournament to be decided in overtime. The game was tied 43-all at the end of regulation. Six players fouled out over the course of the game and the Lady ’Kats won and moved on to the championship game on Friday with a score of 56-52.
A good crowd had assembled by the time the East Side Trojans and the Charleston Tigers took the floor. They were just in time to see a super one-handed slam by one of the Trojans’ big men. The Tigers played it close for over three quarters. East Side didn’t achieve a 10-point lead until the last minute and a half of the fourth period. East Side held on and moved on to the championship game on Friday night with a score of 52-42.
The Lady Tigers of Charleston and the Lady Dragons turned out an entertaining contest which evolved into a nail biting shootout in the last couple of minutes. The Palmer Lady Dragons withstood the final push by Charleston and won 59-56.
Hawks down Dragons
In what started as a slow-scoring affair and then went to a hard-fought battle, the Holly High Hawks met the M.S. Palmer Dragons for the third time this season. But head coach Naylond Hayes was not looking upon the contest as a gift for the Hawks. Coach Hayes said before the game that his team was not relying on the two wins to be a deciding factor in this game.
“They can be an explosive team,” he said. “They have weapons and a veteran coach. After all, they took down East Side in one of their two games this season. It is going to be a four quarters contest”.
The coach’s assessment was prophetic. The pace was swift but without a lot of point production. After a mostly defensive struggle in the first frame the Dragons led at 6-3.
It was more of the same in the second with Holly High being able to eke out a four point margin at 13-9 when the buzzer sounded intermission.
The score remained close in the third quarter with the lead flip flopping a couple of times. The Hawks stayed in front at 27-24.
The Dragons had been enjoying some long ball scoring from Quinterra IIion (he sank five over the course of the game). In the fourth, the Hawks started to cook with some treys. After the Dragons tied the score at 30, Darius Dowdy and Ryan Wilkins each hit a looping three. Then Wilkins followed a miss with a quick stick-back and the Hawks had an eight-point cushion with a little over four minutes left. With Jonathan Bownes playing clean-up, the Hawks fended off the advances of the Dragons and cooled their fire breathing with a 48-40 win.
Bownes led the Hawks with 16, followed by Dowdy and Kentona Shipp with nine each and an eight from Wilkins.
IIion led the floor with 24 for the Dragons, aided by Kentavious Kuykendall with eight.
On Friday, the Lady Tigers of Charleston downed East Side for the girls consolation by a score of 41-33.
In the boys consolation, Charleston defeated M.S. Palmer at 51-41.
The Lady ’Kats beat the Lady Dragons for the girls title with a score of 65-47. Karen Bonds, the athletic director at Holly High, presented the Region 3-3A championship trophy to the Independence Lady Wildcats.
Hawks fall in finals
The Region 3-3A championship game was not a real surprise. Many had predicted that the contestants in the game would be arguably the best two teams in the region, if not the state.
The formidable task for the Hawks would be to manage the post play of East Side’s triple pillars, Laquavius Collins, Cortavius Vaughn and Johnny O’Bryant.
The Hawks were running their offense straight at O’Bryant from the start. He picked up two quick fouls and went to the bench. However, Holly High was still down by two at 10-8 when the quarter ended.
The second was a real trial for the Hawks. They were not getting really good looks. The Trojans were getting some long ball help from Cotton and Ramone Wesley. That was the great difference in the 22-12 halftime score favoring Cleveland.
In the third, Holly High still was getting little help from the long ball efforts. Meanwhile, the Trojan lead was ballooning. At the end of the third frame it was a 16-point gap at 39-23.
In the fourth, the Trojans were using a spread formation far away from the paint and away from the Hawks’ defense. They were picking and choosing their shots. Their defense held the Hawks to six points.
This was the third meeting between these teams this season and it was not a charm for the Hawks who fell 47-29.
Jonathan Bownes led the Hawks with 19.
Cotton and Wesley led the Trojans with 14 apiece.
Holly High (24-4), second in the district, hosted South Pontotoc Tuesday to start North State play. With a win, the Hawks will move on the quarter-finals Thursday at a site to be determined.
Note: The Holly High tournament featured an outstanding hospitality room led by Fred Prowell and his staff of mesdames, Kimberly Prowell, Willie Mae Cornelious, Ebony Williams and Paulette Teel.
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