Thursday, February 9, 2012
By CLAUDE VINSON
It was a double dose of round ball hype on “Senior Night” at Holly High with rival Byhalia as the invitee.
Each school was trying to make an early statement of authority in the girls’ game. Megan Crittle pulled up at the top of the key and blasted a trey. She followed with a deuce on her next trip for a 5-0 lead.
Shandricka Sessom got Byhalia on the scoreboard from long range, but KeShauna Payton answered her from the right side with another trey. The Lady Hawks went to a 13-6 lead; however, they kept sending Sessom to the charity stripe. She canned six freebies in a row and evened things single-handedly and then passed them with a rush through the lane to a 15-14 advantage. Senior Payton’s second three made it 17-15 Holly High at the end of the first. The first period took about 30 minutes because of a malfunctioning clock.
The scorer’s table had to go to a stop watch for the time. Kimberly Reed came into the game for Byhalia and popped three consecutive threes, good for an 11-point lead. But the Lady Hawks were not done. They brought the home team back to a five-point deficit at the half (33-28) behind the play of Carrie Graham and Abrena Spight.
Kenyada Burns had been performing yeoman’s service all evening in the rebounding area and she kept it up in the third. And she was following her shots. The Lady Hawks took a four-point advantage midway the frame. The hot shots traded threes in the last seconds, knotting it at 42 at the end of the period.
These 3A rivals were really going after each other. It appeared that Holly High was prepared to play four quarters. The score was tied five times in the second half. The Lady Hawks were making this a real trial for the Lady Indians. The standing-room-only crowd was egging the Lady Hawks on, urging at least an overtime. But Burns sank two freebies with 15 seconds left to tie it 53-53. Then Graham got her hands on the ball and won a footrace with the clock to put in the winning points (55-53).
Crittle tied with Sessom of Byhalia for high point honors (25). Burns threw in 13 and Graham had nine for the Lady Hawks (5-21 record).
Reed backed up Sessom with 10 points.
Hawks finish sweep
After the between-the-games activities feting the soon to be departing seniors, the stage was set to see if the Hawks could close out the Indians to make it a perfect evening. The Hawks had already defeated the Indians once this season.
The first six points went to Dewayne McKinney on putbacks. He then raced down the floor to hit Holly High’s eighth point. Holly High added 11 more for a 19-6 early lead.
The Hawks made a lot of moves in the second. They became very accurate and jumped to a 39-11 margin at halftime. The attack was being spearheaded by Courtavious Daughtery, Paris Scruggs and Rodney Redmond.
Byhalia was rebounding well in the third but the offense was not producing. The Indians were not finding the bottom of the nylon. Conversely, the Hawks’ offense was on fire. They were ahead 58-14 going into the final frame.
The Indians just couldn’t find a stable offense and had to bow to the Hawks 60-18. Tevin Jones put an exclamation point on the ending with a last-second slam.
Scruggs scored 11. McKinney for the Hawks (16-10 record) and Jones had 10 each with Daughtery and Redmond recording nine each.
Byhalia and Holly Springs teams enter their respective district tournaments this week – Byhalia teams at Independence High School and Holly Springs squads at Northeast Community College in Booneville.
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