With a flip of a coin, the Lady Warriors were declared area regular season winners and the host of the upcoming area tournament. Jacksonville, the second seed will play third seed Hokes Bluff at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Centre.
The winner of the Jacksonville-Hokes Bluff game will move on to play the winner of the Cherokee County-Alexandria game on Saturday night for the area championship. Teams must win their first game or their season is over.
Jacksonville Head Coach Ryan Chambless feels that his defending 4A State Champions have a lot of work ahead of them this week. Chambless feels that the area is a tough one. “I knew Centre had their whole team back; I knew Hokes Bluff was always well coached and I knew that Alexandria might struggle because they were so young.
“I was hoping that we would win the area but it didn’t turn out that way.”
Chambless says that he will be working his girls hard this week on the fundamentals. “We have to get back to where we are guarding the ball a lot tougher, to where we are not getting silly fouls like reaching in. We are giving up too many offensive rebounds.”
Chambless knows that should his team get past Hokes Bluff, as they are expected to do, they have a rough road ahead of them in facing Cherokee County, a team that gave the Lady Eagle’s one of their losses.
“Centre’s got five seniors that start; they are really solid all around. They have got a post player who works hard inside. She is an automatic “two” if she gets it inside.
“We’ve got to do a good job on her and have got to do a good job on their guards who can shoot the ball.
“They don’t make mistakes on defense.”
In the last week of the regular season the Lady Eagles (22-5) had an easy time with Saks winning 55-16; held off White Plains for an 82-63 win and then had four players foul out and were called for 28 fouls in a 59-56 loss to Ft. Payne.
Against Saks, the Lady Eagles held the Lady Wildcats to just 11 points in the first half and only five in the second half as Jacksonville easily coasted to a 55-16 win.
Chambless was able to play his entire team in the win and no starter played for more than 16 minutes.
Leading the scoring was Sharon Osterbind with 14; Angel Kidd and Kenyatta Ervin had 8 points, Destiney Easley 7, Brandi Canady 6, Jasmine Easley and Darrien Martin each had 3, and Virginia Poe, Dasie Kirksey, and Queenteria Mooney all had two.
The Lady Eagles led throughout at White Plains but had to hold off a rally by the Lady Wildcats to win.
Angel Kidd shot 9-for-15 from the field and 12-for-13 from the line to lead all scorers with 30 points. Ervin had 14 points for Jacksonville, Poe, Easley and Kirksey each had 9, Osterbind 5, Tamaria Mays 3, Martin 2 and Abby Jaskowski 1.
For White Plains Mikayla Owens had 29 points and Sophie Taylor added 14.
In a game played at Fort Payne it seemed like neither team could go up or down the court without a whistle being blown. The Lady Eagles picked up 13 fouls in the first half and 15 in the second.
Coach Chambless had a hard time revolving players in foul trouble in and out of the game.
Fort Payne lead 33-28 at the end of the first half.
Two baskets by Jacksonville, one by Ervin and one by Poe, brought the Lady Eagles to within one at 35-34. Poe hit on a 3-pointer with 5:20 left in the third quarter to give Jacksonville a 37-35 lead and the Lady Eagles increased their lead even further on two foul shots by Ervin.
Jacksonville was able to get a six-point lead on another basket by Ervin but Fort Payne came back to within two at 43-41.
Both teams had trouble getting the ball up and down the court as both teams were guilty of many turnovers.
With 37 seconds left on the clock Kidd was intentionally fouled going to the basket and hit both shots. Fort Payne came back with a 3-point shot from the corner and the Lady Eagles had a narrow 45-44 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Osterbind, out most of the third quarter, came back into the game in the fourth quarter only to pick up her fourth foul just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Both teams exchanged baskets and the lead. Kidd hit a 3 with 6:05 left for a three point Jacksonville lead.
Osterbind was put back into the game but fouled out with 3:58 remaining and the Lady Eagles up by just two points, 51-49.
With 1:20 left on the clock Poe stole the ball and drove the court for the basket and a 53-52 Jacksonville lead.
Two foul shots put Fort Payne back up on top and then on the next trip down the court the Lady Eagles were called again for a foul and Fort Payne was up 57-53.
Poe found nothing but net for yet another 3-point shot with 34 seconds left and the Lady Eagles were down by just one, 57-56.
On the way down court Poe was called for a foul, her fifth, and Fort Payne hit both shots from the line and finished with the 59-56 win.
Poe ended the game with 26 points, to include 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the line. Kidd and Ervin added 10, Osterbind 6, and Destiny Easley and Abby Jaskowski each had 2 points.