By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
NEW SITE – Jason Thompson has witnessed his fair share of good high school girls basketball players in his twelve years of coaching at H.W. Byers.
Add Gulfport freshman Ameshya Williams to that list.Williams, a 6-foot-2 post player, had 15 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks in a 43-39 victory over the Lady Lions at the New Site Lady Royal Rumble.
“She always keeps a full extension and goes to the square, which means she’s a fundamentally sound player,” Thompson said.
“She played the role that she needed to play – be a giant to that ant that was trying to chop and gnaw her away.”
Undersized H.W. Byers (11-3) scored the first seven points of the game, five by Justice Martin, before the Lady Admirals closed the first quarter on a 15-2 run.
The Lady Lions slowed the tempo in the second.
Both teams scored only five points in the period and Gulfport maintained its sixpoint lead (20-14) at halftime.
Byers retook the lead once, 24-22 with 5:20 remaining in the third on a Sha Dai Nolen jumper.
But Gulfport was able to match each run the Lady Lions put together to close its trip north with a victory over the defending Class 1A state champion.
The Lady Admirals (11-2) beat 2A champ New Site as well on Friday night.
“The key to our game was, we were able to answer,” Gulfport coach Donny Fuller said. “We needed to come play a tight game that went down to the wire.” Dentasia Thomas (13 points) drained two threepointers and Thomas hit a layup in a 10-0 spurt following Nolan’s third quarter basket. Gulfport never trailed again and led 34-29 heading to the fourth. Richenda Crutcher came off the bench to score 11 for H.W. Byers.