Bears battle for No. 1 in region
The West Lincoln Bears are the top contenders in the race for Region 7-1A crown in the boys’ race.
Meanwhile. the Lady Bears are fighting to stay in playoff contention. They seek the third of fourth seed in the girls’ race.
Other teams in the Class 7-1A race are Bogue Chitto, Hinds AHS, Natchez Cathedral, St. Aloysius and Piney Woods.
Hinds AHS will host this year’s region tournament, beginning Feb. 11, at Utica.
The Bears (14-2, 0-0), coached by Lane Young, are hungry for a return trip to the Jackson Coliseum after suffering a bitter loss last year in the State 1A semifinals.
The Bears and their high-octane offense gears up as they participate in the Winona Crossroad Challenge to tip off the second half of the season against the Class 6A Grenada Chargers Saturday.
West Lincoln has five straight region road games starting Jan. 8, against St. Aloysius.
Senior guard Jared Case is leading four West Lincoln players, whom are averaging in double figures, with 16.5 points per game. Duane Marshall contributes 13.8 ppg. Lucas Burris provides 12.8 and Sam Bivens 10.9.
Bivens and Burris are the rebound kings for the Bears averaging 8 boards a game each. Case is contributing 4 steals, 6 assist and 7 rebounds a game.
Coach Lane Young stated that the Bears’ toughest challenge will be the Hinds AHS Bulldogs, since the Piney Woods Tornadoes are serving a three-year probation for rules infractions.
Young noticed a lot of good strong points for his Bears. “The guys are playing hard as a team. We managed to increase our depth during the first half of the season to help us in the long run. Our senior leadership is also a strong advantage for us as well.”
Coach Young mentioned West Lincoln’s weakness that he wants to improve upon. “We are not shooting the ball like we are capable of doing. I believe we can shoot the ball a lot better and play solid defense. We just need to be smart.”
Young shared West Lincoln’s overall goal for both his boys and girls squads. “The main goal is always to finish first or second in the race and the tournament. Our main objective is to continue getting better as a team and beat a few teams along the way that people think we cannot win.”
The Lady Bears (7-9, 1-0) are looking to stay under the radar and make a strong finish in the race.
Senior forward Katie Hester directs the Lady Bears in scoring. She averages 9.5 points per game. Junior forward Destiny Allen is the second leading scorer with 9.4 ppg. She leads the rebound charts with 7.8 rebounds per game.
Tamasha Buckley is providing a strong performance for West Lincoln, averaging 7.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.5 assist per game.
Young said that Bogue Chitto and Hinds AHS are the favorites in the girls’ race. As far the rest of the teams, it will be a fight for the other two-playoff spots.
In a review for the first half of the season, Coach Young stated that the Lady Bears’ strong points would be their defense and hustle. “The girls are playing really well defensively and they hustle up and down the court.”
The Lady Bears’ weak point is shooting and ball handling. “We need to be more aggressive on shooting the ball and handling the ball in pressure situations.”
Turnovers have been a major problem for West Lincoln.
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