For the first time since 2006, the John F. Kennedy Lady Hornets will be back in the state tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson as they defeated the West Union High School Lady Eagles 66-52 in the semifinals of the 1A North Half Girls Basketball Tournament Friday night at Pine Grove High School in Ripley. The Lady Hornets also added a north half title to their mantle on Saturday by defeating Pine Grove 45-40 in double overtime to improve to a perfect 30-0.
“I just want to say the I’m happy for these girls, because it’s been about eight years since the Lady Hornets have been to the state,” JFK head coach Linda Allen said. “For these girls to go to the state and represent the program, I’m proud about that. I’m really proud of these girls.”
Allen said the girls have been through thick and thin together.
“I feel like the main thing with this team is the fact these girls have played three sports together and played together that long, they know each other and know the ups and downs of each other. They know how to motivate each other, and they have each others back.”
In Friday’s game, JFK started off slow as West Union took a 17-16 lead in the middle of the first quarter. The Lady Hornets battled back with a fury as they went on a 24-7 run to close the first half out with a 40-24 advantage at halftime. JFK was able to stay in the driver’s seat through out the second half.
“We realized they had some real good three-point shooters,” Allen said about West Union. “We realized we had to go from a zone to a man-to-man and do full court press.”
Frederica Haywood led the Lady Hornets with 27 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, followed by Ieysha Mays with 21 points, eight rebounds and two steals, Alegsha Haywood with 13 points, seven assists, Latina Jones with two points, six assists and four steals and Jarvis Malone with three points, three assists and one steal.
In Saturday’s title game, Frederica scored 18 points, and Alegsha scored 17 points to lead the Lady Hornets.
The Lady Hornets, who are the No. 1 seed from the North, will play the No. 2 seed from the South Saturday at 9 a.m. in the first round of the 1A State Tournament.