Thursday, March 13, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
On the road
How does that old saying go? “As one lamp grows (or was that glows) brighter, another grows less.” There just might be some implications here. Presently, we are on the brink of “March Madness” and as the secondary basketball world winds down, the tertiary level kicks off.
The Big House in Jackson has been filled with hoops and hoopla since March 7. This works out to be something of an abbreviated finale to the state world of basketball since the quarter-finals were eliminated from the end-of-season program at Mississippi Coliseum. Now competing teams go right into the semis out of the north-south halves of competition.
Of the teams from the South Reporter’s jurisdiction, three reached the highest level of the trials (state tournament) – Marshall Academy (boys and girls) of the MAIS, the H.W. Byers Lady Lions and the Byhalia Indians. This means that the newspaper’s covering cadre hit the road again to trace the efforts of those vying for gold balls. The Marshall Academy teams completed their runs in February at Rebul. Both were eliminated.
The Lady Lions opened the state tourney and sent Newton packing (see story at top right of this page). By the time you read this, the Indians of Byhalia will have taken their stab at higher achievement. They were scheduled to meet McComb’s Tigers (30-1) in Class 4A on Tuesday, March 11, at 2:30 p.m.
The Big House experience is a worthwhile pursuit at all levels. The pressure is felt all across the spectrum – from the coaches and players who do most of the heavy lifting, to the administrators of the tournament, to the thousands of spectators and supporters who are gratified (or disappointed ) by these massive efforts.
And, as was alluded to in an earlier column, stars are born, teams achieve greatness and coaches get recognition. Two teams in this year’s tournament caused quite a stir – Scott Central of the girls’ 2A and J.F.K.’s Lady Hornets (1A) of Mound Bayou. There is no record of any Lady Hornets team participating in a state tournament before.
The game between Coahoma County and Scott Central perhaps drew the largest crowd. At first we had thought the swarm of media and spectators were there for Coahoma County but it soon became evident that they were there for the Lady Rebels of Central and specifically Victoria Vivians. The senior forward is ranked number one in the nation and has had games of 64 and 68 points output this season. There were six TV cameras covering her every move as her team dispatched Coahoma.
The South Reporter team covering the first round in the Big House was Barry Burleson (editor/publisher), Claude Vinson (sports editor) and Willie Ann Shelton (budding photographer). Barry was also covering a couple of MA all-stars at Jackson Prep.
Like the armed forces of the United States, sports reporters also travel on their stomachs. Luckily, we had the head basketball coach of Millsaps College, Tim Wise, who was there looking over recruiting prospects, who gladly recommended the Hickory Pit on Northside Drive.
I have to say that the barbecue rivals my own.
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