March 20, 2014
For the H.W. Byers Lady Lions and their coach, Jason Thompson, history has once again repeated itself.
The aforesaid Thompson has achieved a most enviable feat with the teams he has coached over the years of his tenure at H.W. Byers High School. He won three consecutive titles in 1A from 2011 to 2013. Before that his Lady Lions were victorious twice in 2A championship games in 2008 and 2009.
Last Thursday, Thompson and his girls picked up their fourth straight gold ball and sixth overall, this one in 2A, at the Big House. They beat Scott Central 69-54.
Byers got the tip but came up empty. Each squad sank a three-ball (Abria Gulledge for Byers and Teara Thomas for Scott Central). Victoria Vivians, the nation’s number one high school player, was keeping the Lady Rebels out front mainly from the freebie line.
Byers was doing an admirable job of rebounding on the defensive end. Laniqua Collins punched in a long trey for Byers, giving the Lady Lions their first lead (10-8). Richenda Crutcher went coast to coast for a 12-10 lead at the end of the first period.
The Lady Lions broke the second frame wide open. They were taking the ball through Scott Central’s defense with authority and making critical points in the paint. They were also having success at the charity stripe. Gulledge popped in another one from long range and gave her team a 17-point lead.
Vivians hit a deuce on a breakaway steal but the Lady Rebels were still 13 below the scrappy Lady Lions (30-17) at intermission.
Byers kept pouring it on in the third. The Lady Lions had the Rebels on their knees and they didn’t let up. Vivians began making big noise, running her personal score up to 27, after just 11 at halftime.
Jason Thompson, head coach of the Lady Lions, began increasing the covering pressure on the super player.
Crutcher became an effective penetrator for Byers, picking up some important points after running the lane. Byers led the opposition 49-33 at the end of the quarter.
Scott Central had to go into desperate mode in the last frame but to no avail. Even 43 points from Vivians couldn’t quench the thirst of these Lady Lions in their quest for a sixth title. They picked up the gold ball with the 15-point victory.
The Lady Lions received two more accolades. Jequira Thompson picked up the Scholar Athlete Award and Miracle Duncan was identified as the Player of the Game.
The stalwarts for Byers in this battle were Gulledge with 20 points, Crutcher with 15, Duncan with 13 and Collins with 12. Duncan had 16 rebounds and Collins nine. Crutcher handed out six assists.
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