BIGGERSVILLE -- On a rainy Sunday afternoon, the stage was set for the third and final day of the 2022 Alcorn County Tournament in the BHS gym.
The first matchup was between the Biggersville Lady Lions and the Kossuth Lady Aggies, in which both teams had already faced their own gauntlets to secure their appearance in this round.
Kossuth had bested Corinth behind a hot three-point start from point guard Dacy Kate Marsh and a balanced scoring effort that left the Aggies with a comfortable win, even as the lower seed.
Biggersville, meanwhile, had also managed to cruise past their first round opponent, the Alcorn Central Golden Bears, with their up-tempo offense, length and defensive pressure.
Now, though, both teams would have to face a much different competition. Kossuth would have to find a way to keep Biggersville’s dynamic duo of Leileigh and Aaliyah Moody out of the passing lanes, all while managing to stagnate the Lions’ up tempo offense.
BHS, on the other hand, had to find a way to simply slow down Zoe Essary and company on the offensive end. The Lady Aggies have scoring threats all over the floor, so this was going to have to be a disciplined game from Biggersville. KHS may be the most deceptive 3-seed in recent memory in the ACT, and the Lions knew that.
That knowledge let to their victory, 66-60 to be exact, as the Lions took home the hardware after a hard fought affair.
Biggersville center Asia Stafford led the way for the Lions with 25, while junior Hannah Seago followed close behind her with 24. The one-two punch they provided on the offensive end allowed the Lady Lions to take home the victory, but don’t think they only produced offensively.
Seago was faced with the challenge of guarding Aggie point-forward Zoe Essary, and she delivered. Stafford, meanwhile, was tasked with keeping the KHS rebounding efforts in check, and she used her height and length to do just that. BHS Head Coach Cliff Little spoke about his dynamic duo after the game.
“That’s part of the game plan every night,” said Little, “Asia really carried us the first half, and Hannah carried us the second half. That’s what good players do. I was just really proud of them to be able to play in this environment. That’s the first county championship game they’ve ever played in as far as I know, so it was really good to see how they responded.”
The Lady Lions will get back to regular season divisional action on Tuesday, as they’ll head to Jumpertown to face off against the Cardinals.
The final game of the evening was, as most predicted, between the Corinth Warriors and the hosting Biggersville Lions. The stage was set for a matchup between two fairly young teams, with most in attendance anticipating the high-flying play style they’ve grown accustomed to watching players like Biggersville’s Jathan Hatch and Corinth’s Chris Rogers.
That didn’t happen, though, as Biggersville ended up winning 60-46 after an impressive showing of the Lions’ half-court offense and defense.
It was Dylan Rowsey who got the Lions started early and down the stretch, starting off with an impressive offensive rebounding effort and sealing the win with some clutch free throws during the late minutes. He finished with 14 points in the Lions’ victorious efforts, earning All-Tournament MVP in the process.
The Warriors wound up in foul trouble early in this one, and it followed them all the way up until the final buzzer. Andre Adams and Chris Rogers, two of the Warriors’ leading players, wound up with five and four fouls, respectively. Obviously, that didn’t bode well, and ultimately cost them some key production in the late minutes of the game.
After the game, Little spoke about the play of junior Dylan Rowsey, and just what his motor and competitiveness mean to his program.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a kid that can time his jumps so well,” Little said. “His second and third efforts on the glass are something to behold. He’s just an ultimate competitor, and he’s one of the best rebounders I’ve ever had.”
That kind of effort is something that Little expects out of his players, and it’s gotten them a county championship in three out of the last four years.
“You know, we had not won the county in 20 years before Zay (Davis) and them won it their freshman year, and they’ve won it three out the last four, and were a tip-in away from tying it up and maybe winning it last year. You know, it’s just a testament to these guys. They win at everything they do. If we started a croquet team, they’ll figure out a way to win, and that’s our seniors. The foundation has been there, but they’ve just taken it to a whole new level, and I am so proud and blessed to have them.”
That winning tradition is something that Little has sustained during his tenure with the Lions, and they’ll look to keep the momentum going as they also travel to face Jumpertown this week.