E.A. Sports Today

Slow-starting blues

Jacksonville can’t overcome slow start, stages little rally but runs out of time against Madison Academy



Feb. 26
Linden vs. Phillips, 9 a.m.
Loachapoka vs. Spring Garden, noon
Finals, March 1, 4 p.m.

Feb. 26
Samson vs. Phil Campbell, 3 p.m.
Sand Rock vs. Keith, 6 p.m.
Finals, March 2, 9 a.m.

Feb. 27
Lauderdale County vs. T.R. Miller, 9 a.m.
Pisgah vs. Midfield, noon
Finals, March 2, 12:30 p.m.

Feb. 27
Deshler vs. Saint James, 3 p.m.
Madison Academy vs. Greensboro, 6 p.m.
Finals, March 2, 4 p.m.

Feb. 28
Charles Henderson vs. Wenonah, 3 p.m.
Central (Tuscaloosa) vs. Scottsboro, 6 p.m.
Finals, March 3, 9 a.m.

Feb. 28
LeFlore vs. Hazel Green, 9 a.m.
Opelika vs. Ramsay, noon
Finals, March 3, 12:30 p.m.

March 1
McGill-Toolen vs. Sparkman, 9 a.m.
Lee (Montgomery) vs. Spain Park, noon
Finals, March 3, 4 p.m.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville girls got off to a slow start, made a spirited run at the finish, but in the end just ran out of time.

The Lady Golden Eagles fell behind in the first half, but put together a run in the fourth quarter only to fall short to Madison Academy 45-31 in the 4A Girls Northeast Regional final Wednesday.

“Tough game,” Jacksonville coach Tres Buzan said. “There’s no such thing as an easy game up here at regionals. I thought we battled and we fought, just came up short on making some shots, making enough plays.”

The Lady Mustangs (26-7) hang their hat on their defense and they held Jacksonville to 11 points in the first quarter and 4 of 16 shooting in the first half. They broke away from a 5-5 game by stringing defensive stops together to produce an 11-0 run that carried into the first three minutes of the second quarter.

It was only the third time this season Jacksonville had been held to fewer than 32 points in a game and the 12th time the Madison Academy held an opponent below that standard. Guard Jaden Langford, the tournament MVP, expressed surprise when told her Lady Mustangs held Jacksonville to less than a point a minute.

“We definitely started on a poor note,” Buzan said. “You come away with 11 points in the first half, that’s not us. It’s not way we’re used to. They did a good job pressuring us in their man defense, not giving us good looks, and when we had good looks we didn’t really shoot it well early on.

“If you erase the first half, we’re right there with them the second half neck and neck. But you can’t start like that and get a win up here. Teams are too good.”

It was a 17-point game going into the fourth quarter, but Jacksonville (22-7) brought it back together and got the margin back to within nine with 1:49 to play. But then it missed several opportunities to cut into the deficit further and eventually there was more margin left than the clock could handle.

“I kept telling the girls we’ve got time, a couple shots go in and we’re in this thing, just keep shooting,” Buzan said. “I told them before the game this was going to be one of those games where we have to make shots if we want to compete with them and I think that explains our slow start.”

While Jacksonville was expending energy, getting turnovers and rebounds and making shots to shrink the lead, the Lady Mustangs weren’t worried.

“At one point it did kind of seem they wanted it a little more than we did, but we jut dug in at the end and we just fought it out,” freshman center Halia Morris said.

Senior Kyra Williams led Jacksonville with 12 points in her final high school game and fought back tears as she talked about the game. Freshman Kayla Broom scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds on the same floor where her mother starred for Jacksonville State.

“It’s kind of shocking a lot, knowing she was a good athlete,” Broom said. “Sometimes I’d walk by (the court) and look at it and be like ‘Wow, my mom played on this court and I’m going out here and play now.’ I felt a lot of pressure at first, but then I got over the pressure and said I can do this, I can be like my mom.

“My mom had told me a couple of times that I’m better than her and shocking me. Are you serious? But in my head I was like I can do this, I can push through it, I’ve just got to do me (what I can do).”

Both players made the all-tournament team.

Madison Academy 45, Jacksonville 31
Kyra Williams 2-14 7-14 12, Kayla Broom 3-9 0-0 7, Aniya Jefferson 3-8 0-0 7, Brenna Stone 1-3 0-0 2, Essence Hutchinson 1-6 0-0 2, Elizabeth Poe 0-0 1-2 1, Patience Carr 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 10-42 8-16 31.

MADISON ACADEMY (26-7) – Jaden Langford 4-11 6-7 15, Jasmine Gracie 4-9 2-4 10, Halia Morris 2-4 4-4 8, Mary Katherine Sanders 2-3 0-0 6, Damayia Calvert 1-5 1-2 3, Alexa Hyder 1-2 1-2 3, Nequoia Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Rachel Baker 0-0 0-0 0, Aliecia Hyder 0-0 0-0 0, Libby Privett 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-35 14-19 45.

Jacksonville 5 6 8 12 — 31
Madison Academy 11 12 13 9 — 45

3-point goals: Jacksonville 3-18 (Williams 1-4, Broom 1-2, Jefferson 1-6, Hutchinson 0-5, Carr 0-1); Madison Academy 3-10 (Langford 1-5, Sanders 2-3, A. Hyder 0-1, Privett 0-1). Rebounds: Jacksonville 27 (Broom 8, Jefferson 5); Madison Academy 35 (Langford 8, Morris 8). Total fouls: Jacksonville 14, Madison Academy 9. Officials: Daniel Holmes, Greg Childs, Andy Pruitt.

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