Thursday, February 16, 2012
Hawks beat Tigers, fall to Booneville in championship game
By BARRY BURLESON
Naylond Hayes knew what it would take to keep the boat afloat versus defending state champion Booneville.
“We had to control the tempo,” said the veteran coach of the Holly Springs Hawks.
His squad was doing OK in that regard early - taking a four-point lead in the Region 1-3A title game Friday night. But then the Blue Devils’ star player, Kenny Paul Geno, got loose for a dunk and everything changed.
“The bottom fell out of the boat for us,” Hayes said.
Holly High went on to lose 63-40 to Booneville, ranked second in the state behind Aberdeen.
The Hawks, with a record of 17-11, were slated to host North Panola Tuesday night in the opening round of North State competition.
Coach Hayes said his Hawks, the second seed in the district tournament, simply “let the game get out of hand” versus top-seeded Booneville. After the dunk, they fell behind 28-13 at the half and then got outscored 21-13 in the third.
“We were taking too many outside shots, and they weren’t falling,” he said.
“I believe we can compete with them (Booneville). They’re good. They’re the defending state champs and have basically everybody back. We had 10 to graduate (off last year’s team).”
One night earlier, in the district semi-finals at Northeast Community College, the Hawks turned in one of their best performances of the season. They turned back the Ripley Tigers 57-40 in the semi-finals.
“I thought we played well, but I don’t think we can stand success,” Hayes said. “It’s sort of been that way all year.
“We have to keep control of the game and we did that against Ripley.”
Rodney Redmond was the star of the Hawks’ shooting show to start the game. He scored 17 first-quarter points as Holly High went up 21-12.
Redmond finished with 22 points. Paris Scruggs scored 14.
DeAndre Griffin’s bucket off a steal put the Hawks in front 32-23 at halftime.
Two minutes into the second half, Scruggs picked off a pass and went the distance for a lay-up. It was 37-27.
The Hawks were up 43-32 following three periods. Courtavious Daughtery hit a big three with 2:47 left to put the lead at 12 after Ripley had cut it to nine. Then Scruggs nailed a pair of free throws with 1:19 left to ice the win.
With a win Tuesday night over North Panola, the Hawks would advance to the North State quarter-finals at a site to be determined (most likely Booneville High School).
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