Byhalia claims district wins
It was a good week for Byhalia basketball teams.
Both the Lady Indians and Indians beat Region 1-4A opponents Ripley and Tishomingo County, the girls going to 6-0 in district play and the boys to 4-2.
At home on Tuesday of last week, Shay Johnson and Shaquira Caradine combined for 30 points as the Byhalia girls downed Ripley 52-46.
Byhalia was up 17-11 after the first quarter but the Lady Tigers battled back to knot the contest at 24 at intermission.
"We started out good," coach James Sales, "and then Shay went down with an injury with about 3:00 left in the second quarter. They made a run to tie the game."
Johnson tried to go in the third but couldn't. Ripley led 36-35 after three quarters.
"In the fourth, we made some adjustments on defense, plus we had some players step up and make some big shots," he said.
Soniya Mixon came off the bench and scored six points, and Leekadra Smith nailed a huge three late in the game to seal the deal.
"It was a good win and a tough win," Sales said. "Ripley is a good team. We defended our home court, and that's all that matters."
Johnson led the way with 17 points, 15 of those in the first half. Caradine scored 13 and Tialexus Stevenson 11.
In the second game of the night, Corey Hardin was the star of the show. He scored 23 points as the Byhalia boys knocked off Ripley 54-47.
"We made a conscious effort to get him the ball, and he did a good job of posting up and delivering," Coach Sales said.
Deandre Martin scored 12 points and Jerrell Bronson eight.
Byhalia was 18 of 28 from the free-throw line, an improvement from a game the previous week versus Holly Springs. But the Indians committed 26 turnovers and still won the game.
"We have to improve on our free throws and in the turnover department," Sales said. "Right now, I will take 70 percent from the free-throw line and 15 turnovers (per game)"
The Indians led the Tigers 20-18 at the half.
"It was a hard-fought district game," he said. "We are happy to get the win."
The Indians turned up the full-court heat in the second half and pulled away from Tishomingo County 54-36 on the road Thursday. Byhalia trailed 15-12 at the half versus the Braves, coached by former Marshall Academy coach Craig Dailey.
"Our shots were not falling in the first half, and we just had to settle down," Coach Sales said. "In the third quarter, we pressed and that turned things in our favor.
"We started hustling more and making shots. That momentum carried over to the fourth quarter."
The Indians outscored the Braves 42-21 in the second half.
"Defensively, we were all on the same page, and played well," he said. "It was one of the better games we've played in a while."
Demetrius Jones and Martin scored 10 each to lead Byhalia. Bronson, Corvell Todd and Kavonte Tunstall added eight apiece.
The Lady Indians survived a low-scoring game, turning back the Lady Braves 39-29.
Byhalia played without Johnson, its Dandy Dozen point guard, for three quarters due to an injury she suffered versus Ripley. She entered the game in the fourth and scored five points.
Sales said his Lady Indians committed 20 turnovers and missed 10 free throws.
"It was an ugly game one of our worst of the year," he said.
Lakiowa Milan was the only Lady Indian in double digits with 10. Caradine and Smith had seven each.
The Lady Indians (16-1 overall) and the Indians (9-7) overall) were scheduled to visit 5A Olive Branch Tuesday. They will to go Potts Camp Friday for a Marshall County clash. Next Tuesday, Jan. 23, they return to district action at home versus Senatobia.