Piney Woods stands tall at West Lincoln

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, December 18, 2011

Phillip Jones lived up to his preseasonhype Friday night in Jack Case Gymnasium. A near-capacity crowdwatched the talented 6-foot-5 Piney Woods senior take control ofthe game in the fourth quarter and finish with 36 points as theTornadoes turned back West Lincoln’s Bears 61-52.

    In the varsity girls game, Piney Woods erased a 21-12 halftimedeficit and beat the Lady Bears 41-35, sparked by guard RavenThompson’s 15 points. It was the first Region 7-1A competition forboth schools this season and the first-ever for Piney Woods, aformer Class 2A member.

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    The Tornadoes (4-6, 1-0), defending Class 2A state champions, got28 points from Jones in the second half, plus 10 rebounds. He hit10 of 13 from the charity line.

    “Phillip is a Dandy Dozen player,” said PW coach Limuel Jones. “Hewoke up and played well tonight.”

    Jones is being recruited by DePaul, Louisiana-Lafayette and othersmaller college programs. Teammate Kenneth Taylor, a lanky 6-4senior, tossed in 14 points and 9 rebounds. Taylor has signed withJackson State.

    The Tornadoes started strong and took a 22-11 first quarter lead.They only managed 4 free throws the second quarter and led 26-19 athalftime. The Bears were unable to find their shooting touch from3-point land.

    Coach Jones said, “I scouted (Bears) last week and our goal was topush them out of 3-point range.”

    The Bears (12-3, 0-1) launched a furious third-quarter rally andgained a 33-33 deadlock when guard Jared Case cashed in a stealwith a layup and 2:36 showing on the clock. Jones sank 6 straightfree throws and PW posted a 40-35 advantage at the end of the thirdquarter.

    Trailing by 16 points, 56-40, the Bears finally connected on theirfirst trey when Darius Clark scored from the wing. Duane Marshallhit a second trey but the Bears couldn’t catch the visitors asJones scored 17 fourth-quarter points, his last pair on a 2-handedslam dunk, his third dunk of the game.

    “We missed too many shots in the lane the first half,” said WestLincoln coach Lane Young. “When we tied (score), we came down andmissed two straight shots. Our guards didn’t shoot the ball welland we didn’t take care of the ball either.”

    Center Sam Bivens led the Bears with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Casecollected 12 points and Lucas Burris 11, plus 9 rebounds. The Bearshad 14 turnovers compared to PW’s 16.

    Piney Woods, long a dominant force in Class 2A, slipped to 1A afterreclassification by the Mississippi High School ActivitiesAssociation last winter. Coach Jones said his team would rathercompete at either the Class 4A of 5A level but the MHSAA won’tpermit it.

    The Tornadoes have lost to larger schools Lanier, Callaway and JimHill of Jackson, plus Raymond, Hattiesburg and Moss Point thisseason.

    The Lady Tornadoes (2-7, 1-0) capitalized on West Lincoln’slifeless, second-half performance to notch their second win of theseason. Point guard Kaylin McNeil joined Thompson in double figureswith 11 points.

    The Lady Bears (1-13, 0-1) were outscored 21-8 in the thirdquarter. PW took the lead at 28-27 on a layup by Thompson with 1:37showing.

    Directing West Lincoln was guard Katie Hester with a game-high 21points. Beth Montgomery grabbed 7 rebounds and Bentley Sills 6.Marisa Pruski and Tamasha Buckley each had 5 boards.