Thursday, January 12, 2012
Lady Lions 12-4
By CLAUDE VINSON
Head coach and athletic director Jason Thompson is known for inviting competition from across the border.
Saturday, the Indians and Lady Indians of Jackson (Tenn.) North Side were guests of the H.W. Byers Lady Lions and Lions.
The Lady Indians controlled the tip and took the first shot which rimmed off. The Lady Lions made good on their first two shots, added a few more and owned an 11-5 lead early.
These North Side visitors were all business. They were handling the pressure from the Lady Lions and running with them. They were 10 behind at the quarter’s end (18-8).
Kyra Gulledge was getting it done for Byers in the paint and at the line. Unfortunately, she picked up a third foul and had to retire to the bench. In the meantime Jackson was getting some much-needed three ball aid from Quinn Thomas, who canned a pair in rapid succession. Byers was maintaining a double digit lead until the Lady Indians made a run for it in the last few minutes. They cut it to eight but Madison McCreless stuck one back to move it back to doubles (34-24) at the horn.
The Lady Lions took the game completely away from the visitors in the third frame. When there was an errant shot made, K. Gulledge was there to clean it up. He gave the Lady Indians no breaks at all. The difference on the board showed 59-32 at the end of that quarter.
“It was a tough first half,” Thompson said.
“But in the third, we had some good team rebounding and executed our transition offense. It was a matter of getting the ball off the boards and going with it. We were creating opportunities and scoring.
“Our defensive intensity picked up, too, in the second half.”
Byers gave the reserves plenty of opportunities to part in the game but it didn’t benefit the Lady Indians. The Lady Lions won by a hefty margin at 77-41.
K. Gulledge played just a bit over two quarters but led the way with 28 points and 15 rebounds. Justice Martin followed with 18 and McCreless had a good game with nine.
Thomas led the visitors with 12 and teammate Jada Perkins contributed seven.
The Lady Lions, defending state champions and ranked atop Class 1A in the state, improved to 12-4 overall.
Lions come up short
It was a war from the opening bell. Jackson North Side had some inches on the Lions but it was still battle royal in the paint. The Lions led it by seven at the end of the first quarter (19-12).
That margin evaporated quickly in the next frame and the Indians went up by one. The Indians upped the lead to five with a couple of minutes left, but the Lions clawed back and Jarvis Jones tied it at 31 scant seconds before intermission.
Neither squad was backing off after the break and the battle raged on. There was a lull in the scoring but the pace slackened not a bit. North Side became more accurate and took a six point lead (48-42) after the third period.
The final quarter started out like the preceding three. They were burning up the court and play became a lot more intense. During one blistering exchange, the Byers bench drew a “tech” and the Indians began to pull away again. Time was also slipping away and the Lions resorted to fouling to try and stay in it. Jones and Herrandus Washington teamed to cut the lead to six but the Indians were going to the line often. They were effective just enough to give the Indians the 68-58 hard-fought victory.
Coach Trey Lawrences Byers squad was spearheaded by Jones with 18 and Anthony Mabon with 16. Their record went to 7-6.
Darius Tomlin was the sharpshooter for North Side with 23 followed by Jerry Neylon with 14 and Storm Shivers with nine.
H.W. Byers teams visited Ashland Tuesday. They host Northside Friday. Next Tuesday, Jan. 17, they will host Myrtle in critical Region 2-1A matchups.
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