Wesson watches Piney Woods flex basketball muscles

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 22, 2007

Powerful Piney Woods showcased its talented boys team Fridaynight in Wesson’s gymnasium. The Tornados got a game-high 29 pointsfrom Daryl Arnold in overwhelming the Wesson Cobras 73-28.

However, the loss still counted as a win for the Cobras becausethe Tornadoes (15-4) are on probation and ineligible for theDivision 6-2A title. The Mississippi High School ActivitiesAssociation placed Piney Woods on probation this season, due to theuse of ineligible players.

In the varsity girls game, Piney Woods turned back the LadyCobras 41-33, directed by Tammi Burke’s 16 points.

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Wesson resumes division play Tuesday night at Loyd Star.

The Cobras (11-10, 4-3) were no match for CoachWayne Brent’s talented boys team. The Tornados had lost 58-45 toClass 4A powerhouse Jackson Lanier last Monday in the Battle of theBorder, held in the Mississippi Coliseum. They were minus twostarters, Chris Sims and Ryan White, in the game againstWesson.

“We were outmanned, outsized and outtalented,” said Wesson boyscoach Ron Kessler. “Their best player (Chris Sims) didn’t playbecause of a groin injury.”

Kessler lauded the Tornados. “They probably have the best 2Ateam in the state. It’s a shame when you make mistakes and get puton probation. The kids suffer.”

On the bright side, Piney Woods is moving to a differentdivision next season, so Wesson won’t see the Tornados again. Inthe meantime, Hinds AHS is the team to beat in the divisionrace.

The Tornadoes used a sticky man-to-man defense to dominateWesson. They led 21-3 at the quarter and 37-11 at halftime.

Brandt Hood, Wesson’s leading scorer, was closely guarded byAnthony Matting. Hood often drew double-team coverage and finishedwith 9 points, plus 6 rebounds and 3 steals.

The Tornados got 18 points from point guard Julysses Nobles. MaxCarrier, a red-headed post player, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.PW had a 33-18 advantage in rebounds.

The Lady Cobras (11-9, 2-5), with just onesenior in the starting lineup, also faced a huge disadvantage insize. They battled the Lady Tornados to a 11-11 first-quarter knotand trailed 16-14 at halftime.

“They (officials) won’t let us play,” said PW girls coach LemuelJones at halftime. “We beat (Wesson) 30 at our place.”

At halftime, Jones’ team had been whistled for 8 personal foulswhile Wesson had none. Jones said the situation would be differentwhen Hinds AHS hosts the division tournament at Utica next month.”We’ll have Jackson officials and they’ll let us play.”

Ashley Williams collected 11 points and 9 rebounds for theTornados (7-12, 6-3).

Wesson took an 11-7 lead on P.K. Furr’s trey from the corner. PWgained a 16-13 advantage and held the ball for the last 5 minutesof the first half. A charging call spoiled an offensive play with7.6 seconds left on the clock.

“Our girls hung in there and they gave a good effort,” saidWesson girls coach Hugh Webb. “We lost by 22 up there. We are ayoung team with a good future.”

Senior guard Alexis Crosby led Wesson with 15 points, plus 5rebounds and 2 assists. Freshman post Ann Shelby Davis had 8 pointsand 6 rebounds.

Burke sacked 2 straight treys to start the fourth quarter,giving her team a 32-24 lead. The Tornados owned a 26-18 reboundingadvantage.