Sports / Outdoors – 1/26/2007

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 26, 2007

The Panolian: SPORTS – January 26, 2007

  From the 01/26/07 issue of The Panolian   

NP Ladies hold off 4th quarter charge to win
     North Panola’s Rodregus Black prepares to throw in the ball against Byhalia Tuesday night.
By Myra Bean

The North Panola Lady Cougars had to put together four quarters of basketball to hold off the Byhalia Lady Indians 53-48 on Tuesday night at home.

Byhalia held North Panola scoreless for five and a half minutes in the fourth quarter and erased a 15-point deficit.

North Panola was on a roll and led 42-26 at the end of the third quarter. Byhalia employed its man-to-man defense and forced turnovers. Then, the Lady Indians capitalized on those turnovers turning them into scores.

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Byhalia has lagged this year in basketball but just a couple of years past it was the team to beat. So this victory kind of averaged out to a major coup for the Lady Cougars of North Panola.

Though they floundered in the fourth, they got their act together with old-fashion hustling on the court from Gernesha Edwards and Dynyel Presley. Byhalia pulled within one point, 46-45, with 1:54 left in the game on a three-pointer.

Presley hit the front half of a one and one free throw, then converted on a three-point play to pull away 50-45. Edwards hit three free throws in the last 20 seconds of the game to ice the victory.

Byhalia jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but the Lady Cougars caught up and passed them, 7-6, with 3:44 left in the first quarter. Byhalia never regained the lead. At the end of the first quarter, North Panola led 15-10. At the half, the Lady Cougars had a commanding 29-16 lead.

Scoring for the Lady Cougars were Latorya Hill, 15 points; Edwards, 13 points; Joya Wilbourn, eight points; Presley and Audra Taylor, seven points each; Kinshunta Bobo, two points; and Jernisha Jackson, one point.

Cougar boys
The North Panola Cougars were close to pulling a coup of their own against the always tough Byhalia Indians but fell 63-55.

At the beginning of the first quarter, the two teams were hanging close together but Byhalia pulled out to a 10-point lead 16-6 with 1:39 left.

Cougars Ramone Robinson and Nick Black hit a series of field goals to pull back within four, 16-12, at the end of the quarter.

Forcing turnovers and pulling down key defensive rebounds, the Cougars were able to close that gap at the end of the half and were down by one, 26-25.

The game stayed close throughout the second half, but Byhalia maintained the advantage.
Scoring for the Cougars were Robinson, 17; Rodregus Black, 13; Nick Black, eight; Dexter Robison, three; and Jarvis Taylor, two.

The Cougars are on the road tonight to take on Holly Springs in more district action beginning at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, the Cougars will host Senatobia in district play beginning at 5 p.m.

North Delta 7th grade girls lose first game
By Myra Bean

A loss to tough Magnolia Heights ended the undefeated season for the seventh grade North Delta Lady Green Waves.

Monday, the Green Wave junior high teams played the Chiefs junior high teams in Senatobia.

The seventh grade girls lost 15-10 and thus ended their season 15-1.

"They had a good year," head coach Phil Douglas said. "There is some bright hope for the future."

The junior high girls lost 46-20 to match their biggest loss of the season to this same team in November.

"I felt like we were outmanned," Douglas said. "They’ve got a really good basketball team."

North Delta will host West Memphis in the final district game of the season tonight beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, the teams will travel to Strider Academy in Charleston for games beginning at 2 p.m.

The junior high teams will host the junior high district tournament next week, Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The schedule will not be available until Sunday.

Lady Tigers comes from behind to win by one
By Myra Bean, Danielle Bean and Marlon Wilks

The South Panola Lady Tigers (9-9 overall, 3-2 district) have taken their last two games to the wire but emerged the winners.

Tuesday, the Lady Tigers had to come from a 33-17 halftime deficit to win over district foe Horn Lake 49-48.

It was some solid free throw shooting from Lady Tiger junior forward Sabrina Townsend that sealed the deal. With 12.2 seconds left in the game, Townsend hit two free throws to give the Lady Tigers a 49-46 lead. South Panola fouled and gave Horn Lake two free throws which they made with 6.1 seconds left in the game.

The Lady Tigers ran out the clock on that note.

South Panola was able to come back from a dismal first half and hold Horn Lake to three points in the third quarter while scoring 13 to only be down 36-30 going into the fourth quarter.

Consistent shooting by the Lady Tigers from the floor and the free throw line gave them a much needed district win.

Townsend led the Lady Tigers with 16 points, followed by Skylar Barnes with 13 and Vetorra Cole with 10 points. Other scorers include newcomer Monteith Brewer, eight points and Essie Thomas, two points.

Last Friday, the Lady Tigers took a 36-34 win over J.Z. George. South Panola was down 9-7 after the first quarter. The game was tied at 17 at halftime.

South Panola outscored J.Z. George 11-6 in the third quarter, but J.Z. George turned it around and outscored South Panola 11-8 in the fourth quarter. Those two points were the difference in the game.

Scoring for the Lady Tigers were Barnes, 11 points and Brewer, 10 points; Townsend and Thomas, five points each; Tenisha Mitchell, three points; and Tyunna Diggs, two points.

Tiger boys
Tiger head coach Charlie Howard said he did not know where his team was against Horn Lake Tuesday night.

The Tigers fell to 6-12 overall, 0-5 district after the 53-26 whopping at the hands of the Eagles.

At halftime, Horn Lake led 31-8. Right before the half, Howard substituted most of the starters and they did not play the rest of the game.

In the third quarter, South Panola only scored four points while Horn Lake led 47-12 going into the fourth quarter.

Antonio Allen was the Tigers’ leading scorer with nine points.

The Tigers will be home tonight to host Charleston in non-conference action beginning at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, the teams will play the final district games in Southaven.

"We and Southaven will be playing for the right to not have to play Olive Branch in the district tournament," Howard said.

Game time is 6 p.m.

Strong transfers to private school for grades
By Myra Bean

South Panola’s highly recruited linebacker Chris Strong has withdrawn from the school and transferred to Genesis One Christian School in Mendenhall.

Genesis One is a private boarding school with about 120 students in grades kindergarten through 12.

In Clarion-Ledger articles Wednesday and Thursday, Strong cited he is attending the school to improve his grades and get ready to take the ACT.

"I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to get eligible for college," he told the Jackson newspaper.

Strong made his name on the football field and has garnered postseason honors the last two years, being named defensive player of the year for both.

He was also selected Mr. Football 2006 by The Clarion Ledger and played in the U.S. Army All American Bowl game earlier this month.

Strong made a nonbinding oral commitment to play football at Ole Miss in the fall. He has not taken the ACT, which is required for all students to be eligible to attend any college.

South Panola principal Dr. Gearl Loden said he could not comment on any specific child in the school but said all students are given the opportunity to receive a successful high school education.

Loden has fielded phone calls and emails suggesting communicating to students the ACT dates and courses that have to be completed for graduation and college entrance.

There were extenuating circumstances regarding Strong’s transfer, according to Loden, but he was not at liberty to outline those circumstances.

"I think this was a very adult decision he made," said South Panola High School counselor Shauna Myers.

"We want every child to have a great education," Loden said. "Mrs. Myers works very hard with each of the students to see that they have everything they need to graduate."

The school will soon introduce a long-planned online ACT preparation course that the students can take advantage of to prepare for the exam.

South Panola already has Club 21 for students who make at least a 21 on the ACT. Last year there were 60 students and this year there are 55. About 12 of the students made at least a 25.

As for the football student athletes, Loden said ACT scores are better now for those students than in earlier years.

"We have athletes who have made this year 17, 19, 21 and 22," Loden said. "I feel the younger kids will make better scores in the years to come."

The school already has a calling system which calls parents to update them on coming events. A sign on Tiger Drive bears information as well.

"If we give students a note or send a letter home, the parents do not always get them," Loden said. "Some parents have even given me their cell phone numbers to make sure they get any messages from the school."

The school also holds meetings for senior parents, most recently last Thursday. The school officials explain to the parents what seniors need to do to graduate.

Loden said about 200 parents have been at these meetings.

Loden and the school want to assure the general public that everything possible is being done to assist the students in preparing for life after high school.

"We even work closely with the community in our vocational school for students who will not attend college," he said. "For those who want to be engineers, for example, we will push them as hard as we can.

"We are not just concerned with the athletes," Loden said. "We are concerned for all our students."

As for Strong, Genesis One has a $10,000 tuition for one semester, according to The Clarion-Ledger. Strong said in that article that his mother and family are paying the tuition.

The Clarion Ledger outlined the criteria players must meet in order to be academically eligible as freshmen in NCAA Division 1-A: grade point average of 2.5 in 14 core courses such as math, science and English and a score of at least 17 on the ACT.

There is a sliding scale in place that allows for eligibility if a player scores lower in one of the areas but higher in another, the article said.

Strong also told The Clarion-Ledger he hopes he will avoid attending Hargrave Military Academy, like former teammates Peria Jerry and John Jerry, who both now start for Ole Miss.

Strong story lacks info due to privacy

By Myra Bean

The story regarding Chris Strong came as a surprise to most of us, even to the school.

Unfortunately, there are some holes that have to be filled in order for us to understand what is going on.

The school and his family are not releasing private information about Chris, but rest assured everyone is doing every thing they can in order to help him.

He made this decision himself. It was hard for him as it would be for anyone who makes a decision to move from home to better himself.

The accusations flying around that the school is not trying to help the athletes or other students graduate is wrong.

I will step out on a limb and say most accusations probably come from people who have not or are not raising teenagers these days.

I am raising one. It was hard for her to look to the future further than the upcoming weekend and think about a career and job when a good movie is out or whatever held her interest at that time.

The counselors and school officials push as hard as they can but the children, students, have to want what is offered too.

I just want us to give the schools credit for what they do. They have a hard job they do for little pay sometimes.

It may take kids until their senior year before they decide they want to go the college route.

That’s no reason to blame the schools for not getting them ready for that. Unfortunately, a college life is not for everybody for various reasons.

The schools need our help to motivate our children to try to think past the text message or phone call they are expecting. It’s not always easy.

As long as the students know we don’t look down on them because they waited a little late, I think they will eventually make the right decision.

Each and every day I get the message, "If you can read this, thank a teacher."

Every day I do.


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