Thursday, March 4, 2010
By CLAUDE VINSON
The scene in the Big House in Jackson Saturday afternoon included a crowd estimated at 2,800 to see two former champions in Class 3A clash for another chance to vie for a state title.
The Holly High Hawks, highest seed in the North in its class, squared off against the number two seed from the South, Forest High School. The former had won its second title in 2005 and the latter had won its first crown in 2007.
But on this sunny afternoon, all did not bode well for the Holly High Hawks, who had defeated the number one and number three teams on their march to the Big House. They took down the highly touted S.V. Marshall Tigers (No. 3) and then the East Side Trojans (No. 1) for supremacy of the North.
After the tipoff, the Bearcats ran up a 7-0 lead in a matter of seconds in the opening quarter. Forest continued the scoring spurt for the majority of the period which equated to a 23-7 lead at the end.
A trio of Bearcats was doing most of the damage – LaDerick Scott a 6’5” freshman, Datodrick Pinkston and three-point shootist LaVadius Lyles. If the Bearcats had any chinks in their armor it was not apparent. Although the Hawks doubled their scoring output from the first quarter the Bearcats were still in control at the break with a 39-21 score.
“We didn’t come to play,” said Naylond Hayes, head coach of the Hawks. “We had played very well the previous week (to win the North Half championship) and maybe we were satisfied. We’re much better than we played Saturday.”
The Hawks were trying hard to deal with a huge deficit and Forest was not letting up. The Bearcats’ double digit lead had reached the 20s by the time the third expired. The Bearcats led by 27 at 65-38.
The Hawks did not shrink into a corner, however, they picked up another enemy in the fourth – time. The Hawks were needing every available second to climb out of a hole which had been dug for three quarters. They received another setback when Terek James had to leave the game after crashing to the deck while attempting to foil a dunk try by a Bearcat. He was lost for the remainder of the contest.
Despite a 27-point effort by Jonathan Bownes, the Hawks went down by a final score of 81-57. He was the only Hawks shooter to reach the doubles plateau.
Lyles led the floor and all shooters with 29 points, seven from beyond the arc. D. Pinkston had 19 and Scott 13
The Bearcats (25-7) will face Kemper County, a 65-63 winner over Cleveland East Side, on Friday in the 3A title game.
“Forest is a very good team,” Coach Hayes said. “I thought they were good, but I didn’t know they were that good.”
The Hawks finished their season with a 28-5 record.
“I’m proud of them,” Coach Hayes said. “We had an excellent season. We just picked the wrong time to play a bad game. But this group accomplished a lot. No one can take that North Half championship away from us, and it had been four years since we had been to Jackson.”
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