hoops in June
School’s out, but basketballs are still bouncing.
H.W. Byers has been hosting summer league games, and June 8 the field included the host Lady Lions and Lions, plus Holly Springs, Ashland, Coffeeville, Southwind (Tenn.) and White Station (Tenn.).
“We’re getting to play some games against good competition and we’re raising some money ($2 admission),” said Jason Thompson, head coach of the Lady Lions and athletic director at Byers.
His girls had to rally late to knock off big school Southwind 35-32. All games were two 16-minute quarters.
“It’s good to know your kids can dig deep,” he said. “That was a great game. It was hopefully a momentum-builder as we try to continue our successful run.”
The Lady Lions won a state title this past season, their third in four years.
Thompson said the practice game versus Southwind was “almost like a championship game.”
“The fans were involved, and we fed off of that energy,” Thompson said. “We needed the challenge. They pushed us to the limit.”
He said Southwind’s coach telephoned him the next day and told him the game helped his team a lot and taught his players what championships are all about.
The Byers boys enjoyed a couple of nail-biters, too, in summer league action June 8. They beat both Coffeeville and Southwind by one point.
“The first game we played bad; the second game we played good; but we pulled them both out,” said coach Trey Lawrence, who will enter his second season at Byers. “It’s all about playing some games and getting some experience.
“One thing is for sure – my kids will play hard. That’s the one thing we can control.”
Naylond Hayes, the dean of area coaches, lost 10 seniors from last year’s Holly Springs High School squad. His Hawks beat Southwind 32-15 before falling to powerhouse White Station 37-33.
“We played good defense (versus White Station), but we just couldn’t connect when we needed to,” Hayes said. “We made some key turnovers at the end.”
He said the 17-point win over Southwind was the best Holly High had played in summer league action this year.
“I’m just trying to get them on the same page I’m on,” Hayes said.
“I tell them, ‘make your mistakes now, because I don’t want to see them in November.’”
Ayesha Brooks, second year coach of the Ashland Lady Blue Devils, said the summer league competition is helpful in “seeing where we are, what we need to work on and getting the girls to come together as a team.”
On June 9, the Lady Devils beat Coffeeville 36-29.
Brooks lost two seniors off last year’s squad that made it to the second round of North Half.
“I have five girls from the middle school coming up, and these (practice) games are important, because my juniors and seniors have never played with them before,” she said.
The Holly High Lady Hawks, coached by Xavier Johnson, dropped a pair of games June 9 to Coffeeville (31-26) and Coahoma Agricultural High School (25-11).
“We’re making progress,” Coach Johnson said.
Area high school teams will continue to play in summer camps and leagues through June, and perhaps a bit in early July.
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