Meridian Star


March 8, 2014

Slow start

Newton girls fall short in Class 2A semifinals

MERIDIAN — JACKSON — The Newton High School girl’s basketball team fell to H.W. Byers 52-35 on Friday in the opening round of the MHSAA Class 2A state tournament.  

“Byers is a really good team,” Newton coach Marcus Luckett said. “They’re a well experienced team. I think that experience paid off for them today.”

Byers (19-8) displayed that experience early as the Lady Lions jumped out to an 8-2 advantage just minutes into the contest.  

“The kids were a bit star-eyed early on,” Luckett said. “I called timeout and the kids settled down from that point.”

The Lady Lions led 17-12 after one quarter and took a 30-24 advantage to the locker room.

In the third quarter, Newton (27-7) cut into Byers’ advantage and eventually trimmed the deficit to three, 38-35, with one-minute remaining.

But Byers responded emphatically, ending the game on a 14-0 run to claim a spot in the state championship game.

Newton struggled shooting the ball from beyond the arc, converting just 1-of-23 attempts.

“That happens sometimes in this type of atmosphere,” Luckett said. “We got open looks, we just didn’t capitalize.

“We did a good job with them being much bigger than we are. We out-rebounded them and got some hustle plays as well.”

For Newton, Autumn Taylor scored a team-high 16 points and Tan Lloyd poured in eight. Miracle Duncan scored a game-high 18 points and Abria Gulledge contributed with 16 for Byers.

With only one senior on the roster, Luckett is excited about what the 2014-2015 campaign can potentially bring.

“The experience that we gained this year is going to be a great thing for us down the road,” he said.

Byers will play defending 2A state champion Scott Central in the finals. Scott Central beat Coahoma County 72-58 in the other semifinal game. Mississippi State signee Victoria Vivens, the state’s all-time leading scorer, led the Lady Rebels with 43 points, 26 rebounds and nine blocked shots.

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