JACKSON – Jason Thompson was too involved coaching to notice his H.W. Byers team held Newton scoreless in the fourth quarter of Friday’s MHSAA Class 2A State Tournament semifinal game.
“I didn’t even realize it until after the game,” said Thompson, whose Lady Lions defeated Newton 53-35 to advance. “We’ve never done that … not in the playoffs.”
Byers entered the fourth quarter with a 43-35 lead and outscored Newton 10-0.
“I just wanted to make sure we contested (Tangan Lloyd’s) shots. She put up some great numbers this year,” Thompson said.
Byers held Lloyd to 2 of 17 from the field and seven points.
The Lady Lions (24-8) will play Victoria Vivians-led Scott Central (28-6) at 1 p.m. Thursday in the championship game. She scored 43 in her team’s win against Coahoma County.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing her,” Thompson said. “This is a great chance for us to show what we’re made of.”
H.W. Byers is no stranger to the title game. The Lady Lions have won five state championships since 2008 and three in a row.
Byers needed Crutcher
Byers senior point guard Richenda Crutcher got her fourth foul late in the second quarter against Newton.
Still, she played every minute of the second half. “I needed a great point guard to lead us to victory,” Thompson said. “She couldn’t help us sitting by me on the bench.”
Crutcher scored five points, had four assists and three steals.
Shots didn’t fall
While Baldwyn’s Conner McKay was scoring 30 second-half points, Heidelberg struggled offensively in the second half of its 70-56 Class 2A loss to the Bearcats.
“We made a couple of shots,” a disappointed Heidelberg coach Billy Wright said. “We had some guys not taking shots. They were being timid.”
Heidelberg shot 50 percent in the first half and led by 12 points at halftime. The Oilers shot 29 percent in the second half.
Marshall gets rematch
S.V. Marshall saw its season ended last season by Baldwyn, 74-70, in the North 2A semifinals in Baldwyn.
The two teams play for the 2A state championship at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
“We thought we got an unfair shake (last year),” Marshall coach Antway Patrick said. “We had six guys over 6-foot-2 and all of them fouled out. But, Baldwyn played a good game.”
Lonesome in the Panther Den
Mike Mauney owns the lone gas station in Pine Grove, the most excited community in Mississippi.
The Panther Den is open seven days a week, but Mauney wasn’t running the show Friday. He was among the majority seated in Mississippi Coliseum watching the Lady Panthers in the Class 1A semifinals. And he didn’t expect a lot of money in the drawer.
There weren’t many left home, but Mauney somehow convinced one of his employees to work.
“It took a while,” Mauney said, then laughed. “It will be very quiet this evening, particularly after about 5:30 or 6 when they tune into the game.”
Mauney’s shop is the only business there and there are no traffic lights, only a four-way. Well…
“Actually, it’s just one stop sign as the road dead ends right there. Take a left or right,” Mauney said.