Thursday, Friday, February 24, 2011
Last-second shot ends Byers’ season
By BARRY BURLESON
The H.W. Byers Lions’ late-season surge ended one win short of the Class 1A State Tournament.
The Myrtle Hawks scored on a last-second putback Friday night and eliminated fellow Region 2-1A member Byers 69-68 in the north half semi-finals at Okolona High School.
Myrtle had also beaten the Byers boys twice during the regular season.
This time around the Lions led at the end of every period, except the fourth. They were up 15-13, 33-28 and 47-43. They were up by as many as seven with less than six minutes to go in the game.
“They (the Hawks) made the shot when it mattered,” said coach Trey Lawrence, talking about the last-second heroics of Myrtle’s Russ Yates. “That’s all you can say.”
Byers missed some free throws down the stretch that could have iced a win.
Anthony Mabon tossed in 21 points for the Lions, followed by Mitchell Wilson with 20. Chris Echols had 10.
They finished 13-15, coming on strong down the stretch in Lawrence’s first season at the helm.
Byers and West Oktibbeha collided in a back-and-forth shootout Thursday night at Okolona. Fortunately, the Lions cashed in the biggest shots in the last minute and won 66-62.
Perhaps the biggest came off an in-bounds pass from near half court to Wilson under the goal with a minute remaining. The senior scored, was fouled and then hit a free throw to put Byers up 63-59.
Thirty seconds later Shantez Hearn had a huge steal and lay-up.
Wilson finished with 18 points. Echols scored 14 and Mabon 12.
Byers drained some early threes but still trailed 19-18 following one quarter. Echols drilled a trey with 1:26 to go in the second quarter and the Lions led 33-29. But West Oktibbeha took a 34-33 advantage to the break.
Mabon gave Byers the lead back early in the third. Mitchell’s bucket, with a minute to go in the quarter, gave the Lions a 51-41 advantage.
The fourth was a nail-biter. But Byers hung on. Chris Hamer hit one of two free-throw tries with two seconds left to secure the win and set off a celebration.
The Lions tipped off the North 1A Tournament by torching Thrasher 85-51 at home Tuesday night, Feb. 15.
Byers was up 40-22 at the half.
Ten Lions scored. Leading the way were Wilson and Marterrious Rayford with 13 points each, Robert Penilton with 11, and Hamer, Hearn and Echols with 10 each.
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