Thursday, January 26, 2012
One vs. two: Lady Lions win
By BARRY BURLESON
Coach Jason Thompson circled two big dates on his calendar prior to the basketball season – January 17 and January 20.
The Lady Lions, defending Class 1A state champions and ranked number one this season, beat both third-ranked Myrtle and second-ranked Coldwater last week. And most importantly, both are Region 2-1A opponents.
“I knew those two games would have significant magnitude as far as our division and seedings going into the tournament,” he said. “I knew all three of us were capable of coming out in first place.
“Getting those wins speaks volumes for our kids and our program.”
The latter of the wins came in a hostile environment Friday night at Coldwater – 57-48.
“It’s hard to go there and win,” Thompson said. “I would guess visiting teams there have about a 5 percent success rate. I told my kids it would be a daunting task. They played well.”
It didn’t look so good for the Byers girls in the first quarter. They fell behind 8-2 and then 14-3. Plus, Kyra Gulledge was saddled with two fouls in the first minute.
“We withstood that barrage and got some things going right,” he said.
The Lady Lions stormed back to lead 23-22 at intermission and 37-31 after three.
“It was like a heavyweight fight and we were fortunate to be the ones still standing,” Thompson said.
Justice Martin rose to the occasion. She scored 17 and had 12 rebounds. Richenda Crutcher had 14 points. Madison McCreless and Kyra Gulledge had six points each. Precious Rogers had five points, four steals, four assists and 13 rebounds.
Byers is still playing without injured Dandy Dozen player Alexis Hardaway. She may return this week.
“I’m really impressed with my depth on this team and the girls’ heart and desire,” he said.
The Lady Lions went to 16-4 overall and 3-0 in the district.
It appeared for three quarters Friday night that the Lions might pull off the upset of Coldwater, the number one team in Class 1A.
They led 11-10 after one quarter, trailed 26-23 at the half and were down 45-37 following the third.
Then the Cougars outscored Byers 29-9 in the fourth quarter and won 74-46.
For the Lions, Jarvis Jones had 16 and Chris Echols 11.
Byers’ marks went to 9-8 overall and 2-1 in the district.
Byers teams visited West Union Tuesday. They go to Potts Camp Thursday and then host Ingomar Friday.
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