Sports / Outdoors – 2/8/2002

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2002

The Panolian ARCHIVES: SPORTS – FEB. 08, 2002

February 8, 2002

Lady Tigers clinch first place district spot
Sports Staff Writer

South Panola Lady Tiger Errin Gates scores after she strips the ball from the Southaven player and returns down court alone, Tuesday, February 5. The Lady Tigers are the lone number one team in the district after the 49-30 win.   (Click photo for larger image)

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BATESVILLE – The South Panola Lady Tigers (18-9 overall, 5-1 conference) clinched the first place spot in the district after defeating the Southaven Lady Chargers, 49-30, Tuesday, February 5.   

In the second quarter, the score was tied at 10 and again at 12. With 2:15 left in the first half, Marquita Barksdale put the Lady Tigers ahead on a 3-pointer 15-12. That lead did not last long as Southaven fought back and retook the lead 16-15 at halftime with 54 seconds left in the half. 

Anna Brown got hot in the third quarter for the Lady Tigers. She completed a three-point play and gave the Lady Tigers an 18-16 lead with 5:11 left in the third quarter. The Lady Tigers also got some help from Errin Gates, who just finished her freshman season. Gates scored off an interception by Barksdale. Then she stole two back to back possessions from Southaven.  The Lady Tigers outscored Southaven 17-5 in the third quarter and took a 32-21 lead into the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Gates had three back to back steals and scored on two of them to further put the game out of Southaven’s reach. The Lady Tigers outscored Southaven 17-9 and thus wiped out the bad taste of the first half.

Scoring for the Lady Tigers were Brown, game high scorer, 15 points; Barksdale, 10 points; Gates, 9 points; Shoni Fondren, 7 points; April Jefferson, 2 points; Shamekia Lawson and Brianne Cole, 2 points each. 

The South Panola Tigers (11-15 overall, 1-5 district) dropped its final district game to Southaven, 66-52. Southaven’s first four baskets of the first quarter was 3-pointers and the Chargers took a 12-2 lead with 4:29 on the clock. 

Five new Tiger players reported to the court. The Tigers stayed close to Southaven through the first three quarters. Southaven led 16-12 at the end of the first quarter. South Panola pulled within one point, 22-21, on two free throws by Chris Jones, but Southaven hit a couple of field goals to put some air between the score.

At halftime, Southaven maintained a three point lead, 30-27.
The two teams battled hard throughout the third quarter and the Tigers tied the score at 39 on a 3-pointer by Will Poole with 1:04 on the clock. Southaven hit a 3-pointer with 42.5 seconds left in the quarter to retake the lead. Poole hit a field goal to put the Tigers within one point, 42-41, going into the fourth quarter. 

Southaven hit most baskets within sight in the fourth quarter and outscored the Tigers 24-11 to run away with the game. The game was tied at 49 with 4:58 left in the game on another 3-pointer by Poole, but that was the closest the Tigers would be the rest of the night. 

Scoring for the Tigers were Roccii Ellis, 11 points; Chris Jones and Derrick Pegues, 8 points each; Marcus Wheatley, 5 points; Alphonso Pittman and Taylor Rivers, 3 points each; and Corey Blackburn, 2 points. 

The Tiger teams will end the season on the road to Byhalia, Friday, February 8, weather permitting. Games will begin with the B-team at 5 p.m. The district tournament will be held next week in Southaven, but the schedule will not be determined until after Friday night’s games. 

The South Panola Lady Tigers will play the No. 4 team in the district, since they are seeded in first place.

ND rebounds from 12 point half to take two point win
Sports Staff Writer

North Delta Lady Green Wave Cameron Belk (r) keeps the ball away from an Indianola defender in recent basketball action. The Lady Green Wave downed Kirk 49-20, Tuesday, February 5.   (Click photo for larger image)
GRENADA – The North Delta varsity teams traveled to Kirk Academy and brought home the wins, Tuesday, February 5.  The Lady Green Wave squashed the Lady Raiders 49-20. The Green Wave sneaked away with a 57-55 victory.  

The Lady Green Wave breezed through Kirk after weathering the first half. Scoring 35 second half points gave the Lady Green Wave what it needed to secure the win. Kirk only scored nine points in the second half.

North Delta had a 14-11 lead at halftime. Lady Green Wave Cameron Belk scored 12 points in the third quarter to lead the Green Wave. Six Lady Green Wave players scored in the fourth quarter to put the game in the win column. Scoring for the Lady Green Wave were Belk, who led all scorers with 18 points; Kerbie Bryant, 10 points; Brooke Addington, 8 points; Ashley Guthrie and Alex Waldrup, 4 points each; Jeri Boren, 3 points; and Shea Golden, 2 points. No Lady Raider scored over seven points in the game.

Green Wave
The Green Wave men made a remarkable second half recovery to take the lead and the win. The Green Wave was down 32-20 at halftime. Green Wave Dwayne Barmer, who led all scorers with 21 points, scored 15 points in the second half. The game’s second highest scorer Green Wave Chad McMahan scored 11 points in the second half to catch up and pass the Raiders.

"Dwayne Barmer was 10 of 14 from the free throw line and that was key for us," head coach Rick Johnston said. "But, it wasn’t just one thing which caused us to eek out a win." 

Johnston said doing a better job with the press and creating turnovers were big keys for the win. "We executed the offense and got the ball in the basket," Johnston added. "Our shots fell, we played good defense, and didn’t turn the ball over as much. Everything just kind of came together." 

A key play in the second half occurred when Barmer was fouled on a one-and-one situation and the Kirk player pulled a technical foul. Barmer made both foul shots and both technical shots which gave the Green Wave the lead for the first time in the game. Barmer also had 13 rebounds to post a double-double for the evening.

Other scorers include Walt Robison, 7 points, 8 rebounds; Hank Spraggins, 5 points, 9 rebounds; and Brian Roberson, 3 points. 

The Green Wave will end its regular season in Columbus against Heritage, Friday, February 8.  The junior high game will begin at 4 p.m.

SP names head football coach

Sports Staff WriterSouth Panola High School principal Del Phillips (r) welcomes new head football coach Ricky Woods of Ackerman. Woods accepted the position Thursday, January 24, and was introduced to the community Friday night, January 25. 

BATESVILLE – South Panola will begin a new era in football under new head football coach, Ricky Woods. Woods hails from Ackerman where he coached the high school to the 2A championship in 2001. Ackerman went 14-1 in 2001 and defeated St. John’s for the championship 20-14. 

In 2000 Ackerman also went 14-1 under Woods and in 1999 posted a 12-1 season.

A press release from South Panola High School said Woods brings a 90-8 record from Ackerman, which included four State Championship appearances including a 1997 and 2001 2A title. "Coach Woods is a five time District Coach of the Year and the 2001 Mississippi Association of Coaches 2A Coach of the Year," the release said. 

Woods accepted the position Thursday night, January 24, and was introduced to the community at large in an impromptu gathering at the South Panola basketball game Friday, January 25. In a personal interview after the meeting, Woods spoke about taking the position at South Panola. Though his head coaching positions have been in the 2A district, Woods is no stranger to 5A football. He was the defensive coordinator for five years at Columbus-Lee High School before making the move to head coach.

"I am originally from Ackerman, but this is a good move for me and my family," Woods said. "I wanted to coach at South Panola. I have had a lot of job offers in the past. People would call me and I did not go to interview for 5A jobs. This is the only one I interviewed for. This is the only one I really wanted."

Woods and his wife have been married for 23 years and have two sons, 20 and 17.  "My oldest son is a junior at Mississippi State University. The youngest is a junior in high school and will stay in Ackerman. He played football at Ackerman and got injured. He had concussions and other medical problems. The state championship game was his last game, according to Woods. "The doctors advised him not to play any more," Woods said. "He will be valedictorian at Ackerman and does not want to leave. It’s not that he doesn’t want to come, but it’s that he’s got something involved. He will stay with my brother-in-law." 

Woods also head coached three North-South All-Star games. "I coached several guys from here including Kimario Hentz, Kevin Cooper and Kory Chapman," Woods said. "I enjoyed each and every one of them. I saw a few people from South Panola. I remember them, but they may not remember me."

Woods is not available to move immediately. He hopes to move within the next two weeks. He is a biology teacher. He has tendered his resignation at Ackerman and the board will vote to officially accept his resignation tonight, January 29.  "I wish I could come Wednesday, but right now it’s two weeks," Woods said. Woods’ wife will finish out her contract at Ackerman, where she teaches math.

Woods also has plans to bring two more assistant coaches on board.

Johnston named ND’s head football coach
Sports Staff Writer

BATESVILLE – With the retirement of Willis Wright, North Delta was once again looking for a head football coach.  Defensive coordinator Rick Johnston was handed the job this week.  

In a Wednesday, January 30, interview Johnston said he was extremely excited about the opportunity. "I told the kids if they were just half as excited as I am, we won’t have any problems," Johnston said. "I don’t see us having a problem. The goal is always to get back to the state championship. That hasn’t changed.

"I was fortunate enough to work under two men who I consider great coaches, Tim Beard and Willis Wright," Johnston said. "They helped prepare me for this situation."

Johnston’s first order of business is to get the players back in the weightroom and ready for the annual lift-a-thon, Friday, March 1.

"Coach [Bobby] Bouchillon has been doing a super job with that," Johnston said. "We started running Monday morning. We are pretty much in full swing. That’s what we have to concentrate on right now. I want it to be the biggest and the best ever."

In addition to losing Wright, assistant coach Dalton LeBleu left after the fall semester. Johnston said finding one or two more coaches is the next item of business.

Johnston has put together a short list and will open up the coaching position on the internet and through the school’s website. "We are a little shorthanded right now with the loss of two coaches, but we are going to make do," Johnston said. "That will not be an excuse. We will take our time," he added.

Whoever is chosen as assistant coach will also need to be teacher. Whether a new era in North Delta football is beginning or a tradition is continuing, according to Johnston, it is a combination of both. "I don’t foresee a lot of changes," he said. "If it’s not broke, we’re not going to fix it. Of course, I have a couple of ideas of my own we will put in the program."

Johnston has had most of the players since they were on the seventh grade football team.  "They’ve all played for me," Johnston said. "They know what to expect from me. It will be a smooth transition. In fact, I think the transition has already been made.

"Transition period or a new era?" Johnston continued. "I don’t think so. I have been involved for eight years. So, I feel like I was part of that era, and I think we will continue that."

As for any new coaches, Johnston said he must feel comfortable with them. "I think that was a main part of the success in the past with the championships – two won in the last eight years and a trip to another one – is the camradarie between coaches," Johnston said. "We worked together. That is a real important part of the success."

As for the returning team members, Johnston said a couple of positions need to be solidified. "We are looking at people who were on the edge of playing some major minutes this past year, who were stepping up," Johnston said. "I feel like that will happen this summer. We’ve got an experienced group.

"In some of the games we played last year, we were fortunate enough to play everybody," Johnston said. "So everybody got some crucial game experience. That was part of the growing up process."

Depth will be one of the major concerns of the coaching staff. "We’re not going to have as much depth," Johnston said. "I’m not going to lie to you. We do not to have as much depth in the skill positions as we have had in the past. We still have good skilled people here. There are just not as many of them.

"When you graduate a Chad McMahan and Dwayne Barmer from the backfield, those kids are hard to replace," Johnston continued. "They are special kids. They’re special to me. We also have some special kids left here. I look for them to step up and accept the challenge just like kids have done in the past."

Johnston came to North Delta in 1994 and coached under Tim Beard. The team won the 2A state championship that year.  He has coached the junior high program for six years. "I pretty much have coached everything but girl’s basketball." Johnston said. "This is a challenge. This is the job I have had my sights set on. I feel like I put in my time. I think the time is right."

Johnston is now coaching the boys basketball team. In the spring, he will coach the girls and boys track teams and the golf team. "We will be stretched, but it is something we have to do," Johnston said. "You just have to step up to the plate and face these things head on. That’s what we have always done around here. That’s what we will do now."

Bouchillon is coaching the baseball team and monitoring the weight program. "Coach Bouchillon has jumped in the weight room and took off running," Johnston said. "He has my full support. We are tag teaming this thing," Johnston added. "We have a couple of young coaches helping us, the Finnie brothers, Barry and Billy."

Both Finnies are helping coach baseball along with Coach Ronald ‘Runt’ McMinn. Barry Finnie is the boys basketball assistant coach. "The Finnies are doing a heck of a job," Johnston said. "They’re eager to learn. They do anything that’s asked of them. That is always a plus."

Official spring practice is expected to start the week before baseball season ends. "As far as I am concerned we have already started," Johnston said. "We are in the weightroom working out. I told the guys yesterday, that July 29 would be here before you know it, so prepare yourself. That’s what we are doing – preparing ourselves for the season. This is when that starts."

The Mississippi Private School Association is working on the 2002-2004 school alignment. What is in the works is to eliminate the 4A class. North Delta will be playing 2A football next year because former 4A teams will be in the 3A category. Proposed district opponents of North Delta are Marvell, West Memphis, Marshall, Kirk and Bayou. The schedule is not expected to be released for another month, but Johnston knows SBEC will be on the schedule because of a two year contract.

He also expects Magnolia Heights and Clarksdale Lee to remain on the schedule due to longstanding rivalries. "It will be a little bit different football than in the past," Johnston said. "In the past couple of years in the realignment, we have only had three conference games. You might go three or four weeks and play a non-conference schedule. 

"It’s going to be different as far as preparing," Johnston added. "One out of two Friday nights we will be playing a conference game. I kind of like it. I think in the last couple of years we have done a great deal of traveling. This will limit our travel."

Johnston said North Delta is still sitting in the spot they have always been. "It’s not like we are going down," Johnston said. "With a new district, I think it will be a challenge. I like a challenge. We are excited about playing some different people."

Lake Corps completes annual wood duck nesting inventory
Enid Lake Park Ranger

The Wood Duck, a waterfowl success story, is the only duck native to the state of Mississippi. (Click photo for larger image)

Corps of Engineer Biologist recently completed the annual wood duck nesting box inventory.  Each year personnel check the 183 nesting boxes around the lake for usage and also replace nesting materials in preparation for the nesting season.

It is hard to believe that up until a number of years ago, the wood duck was on the list of endangered species. The wood duck is very important to us, as it is the only duck native to the state of Mississippi. 

One of the main reasons for the wood duck becoming endangered was that as the name implies they are ducks of the woods. Their survival depends to a great degree on wooded wetlands. The continuing loss of its habitat to drainage and clearing is the most serious threat to the continual abundance of the present wood duck population. 

Over the past 40 years research has determined that man-made nesting boxes are superior to natural nesting sites in hollow trees and placement of these nesting boxes, have been one of the main reasons for the recovery of wood duck populations. 

The wood duck conservation program has been one of the most successful programs nation wide, and particularly in the south. As you travel around Enid Lake, be on the lookout, you may get the opportunity to observe one of nature’s most beautiful birds.

For more information, contact the Enid Lake Field Office at (662) 563-4571.

Boaters made aware of Enid Lake’s high waters
Enid Lake Park Ranger

High water hazards –  With Enid Lake approximately 32 feet above Guide Curve, boaters are advised to use extreme caution when on the lake. With the high water levels, many stumps and trees that could normally be seen above the water are now submerged, many just beneath the surface.

Also, boaters should be aware that Corps personnel are doing everything possible to mark signs, guardrails and other man-made features that have become inundated. It is difficult to maintain buoys in many locations, so boater are advised to be on the alert, particularly near boat ramps and
recreation areas.  

Many of the county roads around the lake have become flooded. Corps personnel have marked, with reflective barricades the flooded roads, but have had problems with a number of lights being stolen off barricades. If traveling around the lake, be aware that some roads are flooded and use extreme caution.