E.A. Sports Today

J’ville falls in 4A girls final

UPDATED: ‘Absolutely lousy’ second quarter puts Golden Eagles in too deep a hole to recover

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM — Jacksonville fell into a big early hole and couldn’t overcome it, losing to Deshler 70-57 in the Class 4A girls state championship game Friday.

The normally steady and aggressive Golden Eagles (29-5) lost their composure against Deshler’s press and fell behind 43-18 at halftime. They got as close as 10 in the second half, but never closer.

It wasn’t difficult for coach Ryan Chambless to see where the difference was. His team was outscored 26-7 in the second quarter with nine of the Deshler points coming off turnovers.

“We had an absolutely lousy second quarter,” Chambless said. “I don’t know the last time we had a quarter that bad.

“We got away from what we wanted to do and dug ourselves in a hole. We outscored them in the second half, but we were so far down. We just turned the ball over too much in that second quarter. Turnovers absolutely kill you, no matter what game it is and especially a game like this when you’re playing a team you can’t afford to make those mistakes against. We made them and they built that lead.”

It was only a four-point game when the Tigers (34-2) put together the stretch that gave them control of the game. They went on a 17-0 run fueled by six Jacksonville turnovers to open a 37-16 lead with 2:44 left in the first half.

If the turnovers weren’t bad enough, the Golden Eagles went nearly four minutes without a basket and had only two field goals the entire quarter.

“It was the worst quarter we’ve ever played all year,” senior Virginia Poe said. “In my entire four years at Jacksonville, it was the worst quarter I’ve ever had.

“They just kept putting it on us. We were just panicking. People were getting mad at each other. Any time for me as a leader you see people (doing that), it’s clearly not good.

“At halftime, we settled down. Coach took me and Angel (Kidd) aside and said this is it you’ve got to lead. The third quarter clearly we picked it up.”

The Golden Eagles did get more aggressive in the second half, getting into their full-court trap that caused Deshler problems. They scored the first 11 points of the third quarter to make the crowd in the BJCC think a complete comeback was possible and used several other mini-runs to cut into the deficit.

They just could never get it to the number they had hoped.

“I told them we weren’t playing the way that we played all year,” Chambless said. “I thought they were the more aggressive team and that’s something we always talk about, us being more aggressive.

“I really felt like that first half they were the more aggressive team and we were back on our heels for whatever reason. I thought we came out in that third and played a lot more aggressive and were able to … have a chance at it but just never could bite into it as far as we needed to.”

They were looking to knock the deficit into single digits heading into the fourth quarter, but never got closer than 10 — with 3:15 left in the third quarter. It was a 16-point game going into the fourth quarter. The closest they ever got after that was 12.

Poe had 26 points to lead Jacksonville; she was 10 for 25 from the field, including five 3-pointers. Kidd had 10 points and Dasia Kirksey had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Kidd and Poe made the all-tournament team, the announcement of which brought a light moment to a tough final game. When game officials announced Poe’s selection, they called her “Angel Poe.” It drew some lighthearted comments from her friends in the Jacksonville student section.

Deshler 70, Jacksonville 57

JACKSONVILLE (29-5) — Virginia Poe 10-25 1-3 26, Angel Kidd 1-13 7-8 10, Destiny Easley 0-3 0-0 0, Sierra Stone 2-4 0-0 4, Dasia Kirksey 5-7 2-3 12, Kyra Williams 2-10 1-4 5, Ataliya Morgan 0-2 0-0 0, Brandi Canady 0-1 0-0 0, Nicole Goodson 0-0 0-0 0, Quenteeria Mooney 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-66 11-18 57.

DESHLER (34-2) — Nicole Shirley 5-17 7-12 17, Julia Burton 0-4 0-0 0, Layken Coman 2-15 4-5 8, Lauren Cantrell 3-11 12-13 20, Karleigh Sledge 508 2-3 13, Brooke Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Baileigh Terry 0-1 0-0 0, Annie Sparks 2-4 0-0 4, Alex Terrell 0-0 0-0 0, Abbi Holley 2-3 2-2 7, Kandice Ricks 0-0 0-2 0, Aliyah Peters 0-1 1-2 1, Madison Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-64 28-39 70.

Jacksonville 11 7 20 19 — 57
Deshler 17 26 11 16 — 70

3-point goals: Jacksonville 6-25 (Poe 5-13, Kidd 1-6, Williams 0-3, Morgan 0-2, Mooney 0-1); Deshler 4-15 (Shirley 0-4, Burton 0-1, Coman 0-1, Cantrell 2-4, Sledge 1-2, Sparks 0-1, Holley 1-1, Peters 0-1). Rebounds: Jacksonville 45 (Kirksey 13, Stone 8); Deshler 57 (Sledge 13, Burton 10). Total fouls: Jacksonville 26, Deshler 17, Fouled out: Kidd, Williams. Officials: Carmeron, Dixon, Hard.

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