By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Northwestern (La.) State University hopes to have Lavadius Lyles catching passes in football next season.
However, the 5-foot-9 Forest guard could have other ideas, especially after his shooting exhibition in Saturday’s 81-57 win against Holly Springs in the MHSAA Class 3A state tournament semifinals at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Lyles connected on six 3-pointers, five in the first half, and scored a game-high 29 points.
“I love shooting in gyms like this,” Lyles said, referring to the arena’s wide-open spaces. “It felt like I was throwing a rock in the ocean.”
Lyles added that while he has signed a letter-of-intent for football, he might consider another look at basketball.
“I’m torn between the two,” he said.
Forest (22-7) advanced to Friday’s 2:30 p.m. championship game against Kemper County or Cleveland Eastside.
Holly Springs (27-5), which won back-to-back state titles in 2004 and ’05, had no answer for Forest’s star.
Forest roared to a 23-9 lead in the first quarter, which was plenty of cushion.
“That’s the worst game we’ve played all year,” Holly Springs coach Naylond Hayes said. “We picked the wrong time to play that game.”
Hayes said about the only defense that would likely work against the hot-shooting Lyles was “prayer, and getting a hand in his face.”
Datodrick Pinkston scored 19 points and LeDerrick Scott added 13 for Forest. Johnathan Bownes scored 26 for the Hawks.