JFK’s “Band of Sisters” ready for title game
by Donell Maxie
Mar 13, 2014 | 2416 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The John F. Kennedy Lady Hornets will be looking to make history Thursday when they take on Pine Grove for the 1A State Girls Basketball Championship in Jackson.
The John F. Kennedy Lady Hornets will be looking to make history Thursday when they take on Pine Grove for the 1A State Girls Basketball Championship in Jackson.
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The John F. Kennedy Lady Hornets are a unique group.

They're unique not because they sit undefeated at 31-0 or because they are about to play for the school's first girls state championship on Thursday when they face off with Pine Grove at 6:30 p.m. in the 1A State Girls Basketball Title game at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

The thing that makes this team unique and special is the bond that exits between the team and coaches, but especially the closeness between the four senior starters.

Frederica Haywood, Ieysha Mays, Latina Jones and Jarvis Malone are as close as any group could be and it's through that tightknit relationship that this team is now on the cusp of making history.

"These girls have been with me since they were seventh grade,” JFK head coach Linda Allen said. “They run cross country and track and field together and when you stay together that long it's a bonding there. No matter how they get at each other, when it comes down to it they are going to play together.”

Not only did they spend time together running, but in 2012 the team won the 2A State Track and Field Championship.

Of the 16 girls on the current basketball team, 10 of them were members of the state championship track team. Malone, Jones, Mays, Haywood, Aleghsa Haywood, Jakerria Malone, Victoria Brown, Jerterika Holmes, Kenish Coleman and Natassjha Anderson were all on that team.

One of the biggest reasons for the team's toughness and togetherness can be found in their smallest player. That player is Malone.

If you talk to any of the coaches or the players, they will basically describe Malone as the straw that stirs the drink.

She is a true leader on the court and the person who lights a fire under her entire team.

"It can be hard to mix young girls and older girls together, but to have a leader like #4, 4-7 (Malone) who can pull in the big girls and say, 'lets go, stay out of foul trouble and get your job done ‘cause we need you.' That's a leader and that's an extension of us. She is the coach on the floor," said Allen.

In JFK's semifinal contest against McAdams Saturday, the team struggled somewhat in the first half. After winning the semifinal game against McAdams, Frederica talked about the first half struggles and added that it was Malone who helped to get them focused.

"We were having some problems in the first half, but our point guard got us straight,” Frederica added. “I love her and I love our team. We are ready for whatever. We are going to play like we are down by 10 points like we always do. We are going to play great defense and finish on offense and try to bring this title home.”

Mays, who had 31 points and 23 rebounds in the semifinal game against McAdams, said after the game, her team is a defensively strong one that loves playing together.

"We work hard together and we play for one another,” Mays said. “We stress defense and this year we started playing more man-to-man and we go after people. We give it our all play hard and smart with a win and that's our motto.”

Coach Allen added that her team is preparing hard for a very good Pine Grove team (29-7) that took them to double overtime in the North Half Championship game, a game that JFK won 45-40.

"They are a smart team,” Allen said. “They box out well and rebound the basketball. They can shoot it pretty good to.”