Jonesboro dethrones Marion
The hopes of repeating as state champions for the Lady Patriots ended with a 22- point loss
Special to The Times There will be a new Class 6A state girls basketball champion in 2018.
Jonesboro (26-7 overall) advanced so the state final for the second time in school history by mauling Marion (17-15) Saturday afternoon 55-33 at Lehr Arena in the state semifinals.
The meeting featured the past two Class 6A state champions with Jonesboro winning in 2016 and Marion claiming last season's crown. It was Marion's second semifinal in program history.
“It wasn't just one or two players who were ready to go today, it was everyone,” Jonesboro coach Jodi Christenberry said. “I felt everyone did what they needed to do to be successful and it really showed.”
Jonesboro put four players in double-figures, led by sophomore Elauna Eaton's 16 points. Junior Brooklyn Dooley hit for 11 points while junior Kayla Mitchell and sophomore Kianna Hardaway poured in 10.
“That was huge for us because we're so much harder to defend when everyone is able to score,” the Jonesboro coach said. “That's what keeps teams from using a Box-and-One or whatever else.”
Jonesboro committed eight turnovers for the game, but just three through three quarters against an aggressive Marion defense.
“That's really special,” Christenberry admitted. “Having just eight turnovers against a defense like Marion, which is so long and rangy is kind of incredible.”
The Lady Patriots bolted out to an early 4-0 lead, but Jonesboro responded with a 14-3 run late in the first quarter to lead 16-11 after a quarter.
The Lady Hurricane earned their first doubledigit lead (25-15) with 1:23 left in the first half on a runner by senior guard Shatis Williams. Jonesboro led 28-17 at halftime.
Jonesboro took off on a 92 run following the break to lead 37-19 with 5:29 left in the third quarter and forced a Marion timeout. A Dooley layup beat the third-quarter clock at gave Jonesboro a 48-28 after three quarters. Jonesboro's largest lead of the day was 55-26 in the fourth quarter.
Marion sophomore Joi Montgomery recorded a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds (six offensive). Mikaya McAdory and Kaia Williams hit for five apiece, Morgan Christian pumped in four and Ashley Harney logged two points.
By Chuck Livingston