Lady Tigers rally past Pine to advance to Class AA regionals

Jonesboro-Hodge pushed past Pine 61-41 to advance to the regional round of the Class AA girls basketball playoffs. The district 1-2A champion and 16th seed Lady Tigers will now advance to play top ranked, Amite in “Marsh Madness” which is what the LHSAA girls basketball tournament is fondly called.

Getting past the visiting, district 9-2A runner-up and #17 seed wasn’t as easy as the score indicated. Far from it. Actually, after the first 16 minutes of play it looked like Pine and Amite, who was the champion of 9-2A would play for the third time in three weeks. 

That was before JHHS head coach Kris Cash challenged his girls during the break. 

“I just asked them if they wanted to play for just 16 more minutes or want to continue the season,” said Cash. 

You could say that “the proof was in the pudding” in regard to their response to the question. JHHS limited Pine to just three second half field goal and just 11 points over the final 16 minutes to rally from the 30-18 deficit and win going away. 

“I guess they wanted to keep playing,” laughed Cash after the contest that gave JHHS their 12th win in 14 games played after he took over the team following the Christmas break.

Xabrianna Jackson scored 22 of her game high 27 points in the final two quarters including 12 in the third that saw the Lady Tigers come from 12 points behind to go ahead by seven entering the final frame. Ke’Asiah Andrews added 11 and Tyya Davis 9, with the Hoggro sisters of A’Joriana and Zymea, chipping in with six and five respectively. LeRonda McGuire tallied three to round out the scoring. 

Now the Lady Tigers face their most daunting task of the season in order to advance to the quarterfinal round. Awaiting them on Monday is Amite, a team that has lost only to a pair of top ten ranked, Class 5A teams early in December of last year and is currently riding a 17-game winning streak. Amite is not only winning but winning BIG. 

In district 9-2A play where they went a perfect 10-0, the closest anyone came to Amite was 49 points. That includes 82-21 and 79-21 victories over Pine and 88-7 and 94-19 beatdowns of Varnado and Independence. In their first-round playoff game, Amite beat Kentwood 94-19. 

“We have a strong challenge in front of us,” said Cash. “It will take a complete game effort to move on.”

#16 JHHS (14-13) 11 7 27 17 61
#17 Pine (14-9) 15 15 7 4 41
(JHHS scoring) Jackson 27 Andrews 11, Davis 9, A. Hoggro 6, Z. Hoggro 5, McGuire 3 (Pine scoring) Sumrall 9, Phelps 8, Martin 7, Dawson 7, Phelps 4, E. Lyons 4, S. Lyons 2

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