Sports / Outdoors – 1/30/2007

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Panolian: SPORTS – January 30, 2007

  From the 01/30/07 issue of The Panolian   

Grizzlies lose in double OT
     Memphis Grizzlies’ forward Lawrence Roberts (center) drew the doubleteam of Portland Trailblazers Zach Randolph and Martell Webster (right).
By Angie Ledbetter

The Memphis Grizzlies returned to the FedEx Forum on Saturday, January 27, after four straight road games against playoff-bound Western Conference teams, to host the Portland Trail Blazers before an estimated crowd of 15,211.

The Grizzlies with a record of 11-34 are in last place in the Southwest Division and the Trail Blazers are in fourth place in the Northwest Division with a record of 17-26. The Grizzlies began the first of five straight home games with their second straight loss, and losing four of the last five games they have played. This loss came after two overtimes and by a very disappointing 135 – 132 margin.

The Grizzlies played hard and lead at the end of the first quarter 28-21. Mike Miller scored 10 points , Paul Gasol and Jake Tsakalidis scored six points each. The Griz lead by 13 points at one time.

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At the end of the second quarter, the Grizzlies led the Blazers 59-47. Miller, Gasol, and Eddie Jones all scored eight points in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Trail Blazers began to catch up and at the end of the quarter, the Grizzlies lead had been cut to two, 87-85.

The game got even more excited when the Blazers tied it up at 111 and sent it into overtime.

Each team only scored five points in overtime and forced a second overtime. That’s when the Trail Blazers out-scored the Grizzlies by three points 19-16 in the second overtime to win.

‘There were several key stats that were not in our favor tonight,’ interim head coach Tony Barone Sr. said. ‘We had 20 turnovers that turned into 21 points. They did a good job of pounding it inside as well. They caught the ball in the paint 31 times that led to 34 points whether it was made field goals or free throws. The one stat that killed us tonight was second chance points.’

Portland had 16 offensive rebounds, which led to 23 points.

‘You just can’t give up that many second chance points in any game,’ Barone added.

Barone did not like that they did not get Miller the ball much in the second half.

‘He had 16 points in the first half and we just didn’t get it to him enough in the second half,’ he added. ‘Udoka played good defense on him in the second half, but we still have to do a much better job making sure that Mike is involved in the offense at all times. He’s such a big part of what we do offensively, and it was unfortunate we couldn’t get him the ball in the second half.’

Miller lead the scoring with 28 points.

Other scorers include Gasol, 24; Chucky Atkins, 23; Hakim Warrick, 20; Eddie Jones, 13; Dahntay Jones, nine; Lawrence Roberts, six; Alexander Johnson, four; Damon Stoudamire, three; and Rudy Gay, two.

Grizzlies All Star Gasol had met with team owner Michael Heisley within the last week or so and asked if he would consider trading him to another team. This was his first game since that news broke and the fans have been upset with him.

In a postgame interview with Gasol, he said, ‘It wasn’t uncomfortable at all. It came up and it happened. I tried to stay focused and help my team win the ball game.’

When asked about hearing the fans’ reaction when his name was called out at the beginning of the game, he said he heard nothing.

‘I was trying to stay focused on the game,’ Gasol said. ‘Trust me, if I do something wrong, if I miss a shot or a free throw, it hurts me a thousand times more than anybody."

Roberts, who played at Mississippi State University, said the difference in college and the NBA is the high tempo.

‘You have longer quarters and everybody at this level can play,’ Robert said. ‘That is the biggest difference. I have enjoyed it. It is a blessing and honor to get to do something you love and get paid for it. It’s always great. It’s been a tough season especially coming off a great first season. It’s always tough to have a losing season going on.’

Roberts said he gets a lot of fan support from Mississippi State.

‘I do, most definitely,’ he said. ‘During my first year, there were a lot of State fans here. I was surprised. You know those State fans support. They have a great fan base down there and that is great.’

While at Mississippi State for his last two years, Roberts averaged 16.9 points (seventh in school history) and 10.5 rebounds (third in school history). He scored in double digits 100 times in 118 games played and had 10+ rebounds 60 times.

As a senior at State, he was named first team All-SEC for the second consecutive season and Honorable Mention Associated Press All-American. He was the Inaugural winner of the Cellular South Howell Trophy as the state’s top college basketball player.

Roberts was selected by Seattle in the 2005 NBA Draft. Draft rights were traded by Seattle to Memphis in exchange for two future second round pick and cash consideration. On June 28, 2005, he signed to a contract by the Grizzlies on July 10, 2005.

The Grizzlies played last night hosting Sacramento, but the score was not available at presstime. On Wednesday, they will host Dallas at 7 p.m.

Grizzlies team members include: No. 3 Chucky Atkins (G), Orlando, Fla., 5’11’, 185 pounds and seventh year as a pro;

Brian Cardinal (F) No. 35, Purdue, is 6’8′, weighs 245 pounds and 7th year as a pro;

Pau Gasol (F), No., 16, Barcelona Spain, 7’0′, 260 pounds and fifth year as a pro.

In the 2005 – 2006 season, Gasol was named as a reserve to the Western Conference All-Star team, the first player in franchise history to earn this honor.

Gasol was named twice for the Western Conference Player of the week last season and was ranked 19th in the NBA in scoring, 17th in rebounds, 13th in blocks, and 11th in minutes. He became the franchise’s all time leading rebounded on March 24, 2006 in a Grizzlies uniform at New York when he grabbed his 3,072nd rebound.

Other team members include:

  • Rudy Gay (F), No., 22, 6’9′, 220 pounds, rookie from Connecticut;
  • Alexander Johnson (F), No. 32, 6’9′, 240 pounds, rookie from Florida State;
  • Dahntay Jones (G/F), No. 30, 6’6′, 210 pounds; Duke, third year as a pro;
  • Eddie Jones (G/F), No. 6, 6’6′, 200 pounds, Temple, and 12th year as a pro;
  • Tarence Kinsey (G), No. 7, 6’6′, 189 pounds, rookie from South Carolina;
  • Kyle Lowry (G), No.1, 6’0′, 175 pounds; rookie from Villanova;
  • Mike Miller (F), No. 33, 6’8′, 218 pounds; Florida and sixth year as a pro;
  • Lawrence Roberts (F), No. 44, Mississippi State University, 6’9′, 240 pounds, second year;
  • Damon Stoudamire, (G), No. 20, Arizona, 5’10’, 174 pounds, 11th year as a pro;
  • Stromile Swift, (F), No. 4, Louisiana State University, 6’9′, 230 pounds, 6th year as a pro;
  • Jake Tsakalidis (C), No. 12, Greece, 7’2′, 290 pounds, 6th year as a pro;
  • Hakim Warrick (F), No. 21, 6’9′, 219 pounds, rookie from Syracuse.
Jr. High ladies finish regular season on top
By Myra Bean

The North Delta Jr. High ladies finished the regular season 21-11 after defeating West Memphis Friday, 41-33, and losing to Strider, Saturday, 19-14.

The defeat of West Memphis assured the Lady Green Waves of the first place position in the district tournament which started at North Delta last night.

Against West Memphis, Sara Waldrip logged her third double-double of the season. She scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Lady Green Waves ran over West Memphis when they met earlier in the season, but it was like a new team on the court Friday night, according to Lady Green Wave head coach Phil Douglas.

‘I don’t know if they had some girls missing the first time or what, but they played like a totally different West Memphis team,’ Douglas said.

Aside from that non-conference loss Saturday where both teams struggled with shooting, Douglas said this is quite an accomplishment for the junior high Lady Waves.

‘They’ve come so far,’ he said. ‘I’m real proud of them.’

Also scoring in the West Memphis game were Bradi Beard, 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals; Madison Greenlee, 8 points, 2 rebounds, 5 steals; Lauren Kimsey, 4 points; Linsey Hebert, 2 points, 3 steals and Samantha Massoth, 2 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals.

The North Delta Jr. High boys (5-5) played West Memphis (4-6) Monday night but the score was not available at press time.

If they won, they will play Marvell Thursday at 5:15 p.m.

The girls got a first round bye and will play the winner of Monday’s game between West Memphis and Bayou on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Gridiron hot dogging has consequences

By Robert Neill

Well, it’s that other football big weekend – the Super Bowl – and most of us will be curled up in front of the fireplace watching a television on Sunday night when we ought to be in church. While I’m of course pulling for the Colts, simply because of the Manning’s Delta connection, what I’m hoping NOT to see are any more of those Gridiron Hot Dog Plays!

Many folks saw an example of such a thing when one of our favorite teams got into the final four, and their rookie star broke free early for an 80 yard-or-so touchdown play.

He was so far ahead of his closest pursuers that he tauntingly performed a somersault into the end zone, then jumped up and did an obviously well-rehearsed dance to celebrate how great and wonderful a football player he is. The opposing team then went on to stomp our favorites by about four touchdowns.

Were they angered by the flagrant show-off tactics? Did that increase their incentive to win the game? The way the game ended certainly made the rookie look foolish, didn’t it? But he got a lot bigger paycheck than we did.

Just a week before, most of us watched the NCAA National Championship Game, where our favorites (for that game only!) not only triumphed, but more or less humiliated the nationally-favored team. Did they have the same type incentive?

Well, on the opening kickoff, the favored team receiver ran it all the way back for a touchdown. Then he and his teammates got involved in a celebration in the end zone that perhaps not only antagonized our team, but hurt the running back’s ankle or knee, looked like, and he was lost for the rest of the game! One wonders why the coaches don’t stop that type showing off.

Seems like I remember a long time ago that a high draft choice scored his first NFL touchdown and decided to spike the ball over the goalpost, which he did successfully. But when he came down wrong, he tore a knee up, and that wrecked his whole career, I believe. If I’m wrong, excuse me, but my point is, these type celebrations are what we used to call "Hot Dogging." They are generally done, not to point out how great the TEAM is, but to show how great I AM! It’s gotten to be a contest to see how original an end zone dance can be, but it’s hardly ever a team thing – it’s a personal show-off. And it can actually motivate the opposing team to greater heights of play, as well as anger your own teammates and coaches.

I cannot imagine what Coaches Johnny Vaught, or Buster or Ray Poole, or Bruiser Kinard would have done had one of their Rebels burst out into such a celebration after a TD. Seems like back then when an end or back scored, the ritual was to flip the football to an official and trot back to the huddle for the point after. Most backs, first thing they’d say in the huddle was, "Great blocking, guys!" and we’d clap and break huddle for the kick. Maybe we were too stoic, but we won three National Championships at Ole Miss back then!

As a guard, mostly a defensive roving linebacker, my bet is that if I had ever actually made a good play, then had jumped up and beat my chest or pumped my arms, or some other maneuver to bring attention just to me, Coach Wobble would have met me at the sidelines and said, "Okay, Neill, you want to show everyone how great you are, give me 20 in the stadium Right Now!"

And in the middle of a game, I’d have been pumping full speed up the concrete steps of the stadium, probably waving my arms and screaming, "Look at me! Look at me!" as I ran through the crowds.

Up to the top and back counted for one, so I’d have repeated that 20 times, then panted up to the bench, where Coach would have yelled, "Get away from that water, Neill, and get back on the field!"

No one is against being joyous when you score or make a good play, but it should be a team celebration, not a "Look what I done, Momma!" dance. That would have fit our definition of Hot Dogging, which glorifies you instead of the team, and perhaps motivates the other team, who feel they’re being taunted.

"Oh, well, you’re old, Neill, and you just don’t understand the game today!"

Maybe not. But I understand what the word Team means; and Hot Dogging.

Loden heads search for head football coach
By Myra Bean

The hot topic around Batesville and the state is the replacement of South Panola High School head football coach Ricky Woods.

The school started accepting applications for a head coach last Monday and will continue to accept them until Thursday, February 8.

‘We will give them two or three days to finish trickling in then sit down and make a decision,’ said school principal Dr. Gearl Loden.

Loden said as of last Friday only one application had arrived and he had fielded two phone calls about the position. He expects more applications to arrive this week. He also said Woods had received numerous calls about the job.

Loden will not disclose the names of any of the applicants.

‘I have promised all the applicants that we will be as discrete as possible,’ Loden said. ‘I am not trying to hide anything from the community either.’

Many applicants may not have disclosed their intentions to current employers and Loden does not want to risk the jobs of those people who are not chosen.

As the applications come in, Loden said preliminary work is taking place like check references, background checks and making inquiries.

‘We want to make sure we get the right fit for Batesville and our young people,’ Loden said.

Choosing of the new coach will lie in the hands of Loden, superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer and current assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Willis Wright.

‘This will be a no frills decision,’ Loden said.

The position of offensive line coach will also need to be filled, as Michael Fair has announced his intentions to ‘get completely out of football’ and return to Carroll County to work for Farm Bureau Insurance.

Fair said he has enjoyed his time at South Panola but decided to take this opportunity that was presented to him. Fair played offensive lineman at Mississippi State under Jackie Sherrill. He got cut by the Carolina Panthers before coming to South Panola in 2001.

The new head coach will fill this position after he is hired, according to Loden.

‘Sometimes, a new coach might want to bring in his own people,’ Loden said.

Loden did want to assure everyone that they are very pleased with the current coaching staff.

Tigers sweep Charleston
By Myra Bean
and Danielle Bean

The South Panola Tigers and Lady Tigers swept the Charleston Tigers in non-conference action Friday night at home.

The South Panola Lady Tigers showed the Charleston Lady Tigers who ruled North Mississippi’s jungles in a 64-26 whipping Friday night.

Lady Tiger Sabrina Townsend scored a season high 26 points to lead in scoring.

Charleston was never allowed to score in double figures in any quarter. South Panola jumped out to a 19-8 first quarter lead and never looked back. At halftime, the Lady Tigers led 36-14.

Other Lady Tigers scorers include Tenisha Mitchell and Vetorra Cole, 10 points each; Essie Thomas, five points; Celeste Cole and Skylar Barnes, four points each; Montieth Brewer, three points; and Stalisha Draper, two points.

The Tigers also wiped the floor over Charleston with a 67-53 win.

‘I think they rode in here overlooking us Friday, and we beat them,’ said Tiger head coach Charlie Howard.

The Tigers were led in scoring by Antonio Allen with 27 points.

‘I had some guys who stepped up that I haven’t had much from this year,’ Howard said.

Also scoring in double figures was Rico Key with 19 points.

Howard said he has not scored 19 points all year long.

Also chipping in some points were Kerrion Moore, eight points; Nick Johnson, seven points; and Steven Martin, six points.

Howard said he only played those five players all night long.

The Tiger teams will finish up the district season in Southaven tonight. The boys need to win by nine in order to avoid playing Olive Branch in the first round of the playoffs which start February 13 in Horn Lake.

Game time tonight is 6 p.m.

Friday, the Tigers will open and return to action Tuesday, February 6 to host Independence in non-conference action.

The Tigers will end the regular season Friday, February 9 in Clarksdale. All games start at 6 p.m.

Cheerleader benefit raises $20,000 for Florida trip
     Claudia Burkes (front) writes down her silent auction bid at the benefit concert for the South Panola Competitive Cheerleaders Saturday night while cheer mom Karen Patterson watches. The event raised over $20,000 for the cheerleaders who will be going to Orlando, Fla. February 9-11 for national competition.
By Myra Bean

The benefit concert held Saturday night at The Eureka raised over $20,000, after expenses, for the South Panola competitive cheerleading squads, according to coordinator Serena Morrow.

The high school and junior high cheerleaders will compete at the UCA National Cheerleading Competition February 9-11 in Orlando, Fla.

The high school squad placed fifth last year in the super squad category. This is the junior high squad’s first ever trip.

The public is welcome to get a peek at the competition routines during ‘Show Night’ on Wednesday, February 7 at 5:30 in the Batesville Jr. High School gym. Both junior high and high school squads will perform their routines. Admission is free and open to the public.

Saturday, January 27, the Spirit of Cheer Booster Club sponsored a benefit concert for the competition cheerleaders at The Eureka downtown. Special guests included outgoing head football coach Ricky Woods, who received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd who made up the audience.

Also, cheerleading coach Tammy Wilkinson spoke and thanked the sponsors and supporters for coming out and supporting the cheerleaders.

‘I was very pleased with the benefit,’ Wilkinson said after the event. ‘This is the largest fund-raising event we’ve ever done. We raised a large portion of what is needed for our trip to Nationals. It is unbelievable how much support we receive from our community. It certainly means a lot to the girls to know how much the people at home are pulling for them.’

Lead off speaker of the evening was Mississippi Supreme Court Justice George Carlson who spoke for the Voice of the Tigers radio crew.

Carlson related a story about a meeting of lawyers in Ridgeland at which he spoke. After the meeting he asked for questions. One person raised his hands and asked ‘What’s South Panola going to do this year,’ Carlson recalled, laughing.

Carlson was joined by Bob Norris and Steve Wingert.

The entertainment of the evening was provided by The Lighthorse Harry Band. Throughout the evening, names were pulled of people who had bought raffle tickets and their names were placed on the item won. Winners did not have to be present to win.

The live auction brought in some much needed funds. A signed Tiger helmet went for over $800 and a team photograph autographed by all the players went for $2,000.

On Saturday, February 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the competitive cheerleaders will host their annual Super Bowl Party Sale in front of Wal Mart. There will be a variety of "finger foods" for sale in time for your Super Bowl party. All proceeds will help to fund their upcoming trip to nationals.

Donations are still being accepted by the cheerleaders for the upcoming trip. To donate contact Spirit of Cheer Booster members Serena Morrow at 609-9777 or Michelle Roberson at 934-5701.

SEC matchup seen in Super Bowl game

By William Corerro

I was reminded a few times that the Super Bowl is this coming weekend and not last like I had in last week’s piece here. I just got caught up in the heat of the moment.

Glad to see Peyton making his first. I am so sick of the majority of media-types blaming every little miscue only on Peyton. He still has to run for his life most every pass play and some of the blown coverages deep were horrible. But, still glad they made it.

Saints just couldn’t get much going on a very cold and wet Soldier Field. I know football is supposed to be played in weather like the NFC Championship Game and how that’s just a part of the game and all.

My problem comes with the NFL letting some ground crew replace sod in the middle of the field back in late November. All I saw early on in the Saints ? Bears game was players slipping. There is no way they could believe the roots could attach and live enough to hold new sod in place. Plus the stains seen on the Bears’ uniforms weren’t grass stain but the green field paint sprayed on the dead grass to make it look good for TV.

And speaking of the SEC, both teams will have former SEC quarterbacks and about 10 or so other former SEC players. And one quarterback is from Tennessee and one from Florida.

Tennessee ? Florida is always a great game too. Wonder if ESPN will come up with that analogy? You know, how Peyton couldn’t beat Florida.

Whether it’s watching a game or just some occurrence in life itself, there’s always a lesson learned officiating a football game that can be applied to everyday life.

One is what we refer to as ‘being in the game.’ Knowing and most importantly understanding a situation and how to handle it is something that doesn’t come easy to some.

The analogy is the omnipresent holding foul. Yes, that one could probably be called on most every play. Technically, that is. But then the game would be full of ‘3 and out’ series and it would last well over five hours.

The game would die for sure. It takes years of experience to know and understand the art of how to enforce the rules.

For example, a right tackle and his counterpart across the line are having some fine battles in the trench and during a good one-on-one the offensive tackle pulls down the defensive tackle as he gets beat on a block. Classic takedown worth a ten-yard holding call.

But these guys were going at it on the right side of the line and the ball carrier went behind a great block on the defensive end on the left side of the line. We see that and usually will give a warning but never drop a flag in that situation. Did the hold caused by the takedown affect the play?

No, not at all. We would have to let that one go. Our philosophy is to ‘get the train wrecks and pass on the fender-benders.’ In the SEC if we were to call something like the example I just gave, we’d get a call the following Monday morning with the news we had just been fired. You just have to have your head in the game. Enjoy the Super Bowl this weekend.


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