E.A. Sports Today

J’ville girls pull away

Jacksonville girls pull away from close game in final two minutes

Jacksonville’s Elizabeth Poe (10), shown in a game earlier this season, provided the Lady Golden Eagles a good foundation with some valuable offensive rebounding early in Monday’s regional semifinals. (File photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Tres Buzan would have liked to have said he had some profound message for his Jacksonville girls basketball team during the 30-second timeout he called with 1:50 to play in a tight game, but it was really something simple.

“Go play,” he said.

Kyra Williams’ 3-pointer in the fourth quarter gave Jacksonville the lead for good. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

The Lady Golden Eagles did just that. They already had a two-point lead, then outscored Madison County 8-0 the rest of the way to win their Class 4A Northeast Regional game at Jacksonville State, 48-38.

The timeout, which came with Jacksonville leading 40-38, was just more a calming influence and reset button than anything.

“I don’t think I had anything to do with the 8-0 run, I think that’s just the girls playing basketball,” Buzan said. “That’s what I told them at the beginning, just play, just play your game and you’ll be fine.”

The Lady Golden Eagles (22-6) had retaken the lead a few minutes earlier. Kyra Williams’ shot hadn’t fallen all day, but the senior confidently hit a 3-point from beyond the college line with 3:20 left to put them ahead for good after the Lady Tigers (23-10) snapped a 33-all tie on a jumper by Brianna Houk moments earlier.

“I wasn’t on the whole game, but I just took my chance,” said Williams, who was only 4-of-17 from the field. “I was wide open, there was nobody in my face, I was right where I take them and it was good.”

“I’ve been watching her play for years, since my sister (Virginia) was here, and she’s always had that confidence,” senior forward Elizabeth Poe said. “She’s just a good basketball player. She’s been like since she was 15. We can always trust Kyra in those big situations to make that shot and knock it down.”

“She doesn’t think about that stuff,” Buzan said. “I always tell them if you’re open, it’s not a bad shot, shoot that thing. She did not have her shooting game, definitely, but it’s nice to see it go in – and that was a big time for it to go in.”

Jacksonville now plays Madison Academy Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. for the region title. The Lady Mustangs (25-7) doubled up Hokes Bluff, 52-26.

Early in the game, the 6-foot Poe positioned herself on the low left block and scored the first seven points in a 13-0 run with putbacks. The run gave the Golden Eagles a 13-4 lead they held until Houk’s jumper with 3:50 mark of the fourth quarter.

Four of Poe’s five rebounds in the game were on the offensive glass. The Golden Eagles scored 16 second-chance points in the game, 11 in the first quarter as they opened a 15-7 lead.

“That was huge,” Buzan said. “I’ve been waiting for that breakout rebounding game from her all year. I told her and Aniya Jefferson both, they just owned the glass it felt like. I think the confidence it gave us to start fast really helped the team. It always helps when you’re putting up points right off the bat. Without her and Aniya down there working so hard, we definitely don’t start out on that footing.”

Williams finished with 16 points. Poe had 10 points. Jefferson has six points and 12 boards. Kayla Broom had eight points and nine boards and Brenna Stone had six points, the first four coming out of that calming fourth-quarter timeout.

Jacksonville 48, Madison County 38
Megan Baggett 1-6 0-0 2, Deleysia Huffman 2-5 1-4 5, Brianna Houk 4-10 0-2 10, Sarah Wright 2-10 4-4 9, Jasmine Baker 3-12 4-7 10, Lainey Yearta 1-2 0-0 2, Addison Richards 0-0 0-0 0, Jalea McCauley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-46 9-17 38.

JACKSONVILLE (22-6) – Kyra Williams 4-17 7-12 16, Essence Hutchinson 0-7 0-0 0, Kayla Broom 4-7 0-0 8, Elizabeth Poe 4-7 2-3 10, Aniya Jefferson 2-5 2-2 6, Maddie Hall 0-0 0-0 0, Brenna Stone 2-5 2-2 6, Malijah Goggins 0-0 0-0 0, Patience Carr 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 17-52 13-19 48.

Madison County 7 4 18 9 — 38
Jacksonville 15 4 13 16 — 48

3-point goals: Madison County 3-19 (Baggett 0-3, Houk 2-6, Wright 1-9, Baker 0-1); Jacksonville 1-14 (Williams 1-6, Hutchinson 0-6, Broom 0-1, Stone 0-1). Rebounds: Madison County 27 (Baggett 5, Houk 5, Baker 5); Jacksonville 48 (Jefferson 12, Broom 5). Fouled out: Baggett. Total fouls: Madison County 15, Jacksonville 12. Officials: Aaron Kelly, Octavius Hamilton, Robert Howell.

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