Thursday, February 16, 2012
Region 2-1A thriller
By CLAUDE VINSON
The girls’ Region 2-1A championship game Friday night pitted two powerhouses against each other.
Both have impressive, and similar, resumes. Each has titles in the 2A and 1A arenas. In this tournament, they entered ranked number one (H.W. Byers) and number two (Coldwater). And each has super players. This game was another big step down the big road to the Big House. Both teams had been at this juncture before.
From the first possession, Jerontay Clemons began plying her trade. She gave the Lady Cougars five quick points. At the end of the quarter, it was 23-15.
The Lady Cougars were trying hard to hang onto their lead, but the Lady Lions were just as determined to take it away. And they did. Justice Martin made an old-fashioned three and Byers had a four-point lead with a minute and a half left. Madison McCreless stuck one back in front of the buzzer and they kept that distance at 34-29 at the break.
The war intensified in the third and it was a war. If there had to be a flagship game in this tournament, this would be it. Coldwater reclaimed the lead, but Clemons picked up her third foul. It only slowed her briefly, as she came back and hit the tying basket for a 51-51 score.
The fourth was fraught with strife for Byers. Kyra Gulledge fouled out and Clemons was making mincemeat out of Byers’ close-in defenders. The score went into overtime when regulation expired at 73-73.
The battle raged on with each squad hitting five points for another tie at 78.
Byers head coach Jason Thompson called for time with barely three seconds showing on the timepiece. Then Abria Gulledge blasted one from deep right with a full arc, and it went through without coming close to the rim, to give Byers the trophy at 81-78. Gulledge got a heroine shoulder ride from her compadres.
Martin paced the Lady Lions, who improved to 24-4 on the season, with 26. She was aided by four other shooters in double figures – Alexis Hardaway 16, Richenda Crutcher 15, K. Gulledge 10 and A. Gulledge 10.
Clemons had a whopping 54 points, followed by Charmaine Stackhouse with 12 and Kaleesha Leverson with 10.
Lions fall short
The Byers Lions have made great strides under second year head coach Trey Lawrence. And they appeared poised and ready to take on the number one seed in 2-1A, Coldwater.
The Lions had dispatched the Falcons of Ingomar the night before with perspicacity. They were the second seed in this tournament and squared off against the highly-ranked Coldwater Cougars with optimism. The Cougars used their speed and flash to log a 20-9 first-quarter lead.
The Lions were not lackluster, but the killer offense which had banished the Falcons so easily was apparently in a rut. They still had plenty of hustle but the point production was clearly not in evidence. They trailed the Cougars by nine at the horn of intermission.
The Cougars had a big third quarter, scored 21 points and went up 57-42.
The Lions outscored Coldwater by six in the last quarter but somehow could not get past that nine-point gap. They had to settle for second place with a final score of 70-61. Their season record went to 14-10.
Jarvis Jones recorded 15 points which were six behind 21 for Chris Echols and three ahead of 12 for Anthony Mabon.
Marcel Newson’s 22 led Coldwater. Devonta Roberts had 20.
The Lady Lions and Lions were scheduled to host a North Half game on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, of this week.
The Ashland Lady Devils were led by Alontra Tucker over the Myrtle Lady Hawks in the girls consolation game and will move on to the North Half. Ingomar Falcons flew over the Hawks in the boys’ bracket. This was father (Norris Ashley/Ingomar) versus son (Jonathan Ashley/Myrtle).
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