Charles Henderson advances to Final 48 with win over UMS-Wright

Published 7:04 pm Saturday, February 22, 2014

DOTHAN – Charles Henderson made just one field goal in the second half of Saturday’s AHSAA 4A South Regional Championship Game. Usually a half like that will spell disaster for a team, but the Lady Trojans won the ball game 37-32 over UMS-Wright to advance to the state finals in Birmingham next week.

During the second half, Charles Henderson hit 11 of 16 free throws including a huge pair from India Blakely when UMS-Wright had clawed back in it.

Following a Bulldog three with less than a minute remaining, to bring UMS within two, Blakely went to the line to shoot two. Blakely, cool as the other side of the pillow, drained both to move the Lady Trojan lead back to two possessions.

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“It is no pressure to me,” said Blakely. “That’s easy money. “

Charles Henderson head coach Dyneshia Jones preached defense and free throw shooting to her team all week long, and couldn’t help but smile when the game, and the season, came down to the old school teachings.

“Free throws are very important,” said Jones. “We have the lead, but the clock is stopped. We have to make those free throws. It always comes down to that. We had to prevent them from playing their normal game, and we did it.”

Charles Henderson trailed 13-10 after one quarter, but just like it did on Thursday, mounted a second-quarter run that proved to be the difference in the game.

The Lady Trojans went on a 14-0 run to open the second stanza, and never looked back. Charles Henderson took the lead for good with a couple of Maori Davenport free throws early in the quarter.

“It was just like the other day,” said Jones. “If you get a big enough lead, it doesn’t matter if they score a couple, we still have the lead. I told them to stay calm. We are still ahead, and don’t have to rush anything. I told them to continue to play defense, and everything will be fine.”

Blakely led Charles Henderson with 19 points. Alexis Jones added nine more.

Blakely and Jones were named to the All-Tournament Team, and Blakely was selected as the Tournament MVP.

The win gave Charles Henderson its first ever region tournament championship, and gave the school its first trip to the final four in school history.

Blakely said the past week will remain in her memories forever.

“This is my first time,” said Blakely. “I can’t really describe it right now. I am just really ecstatic.”

Charles Henderson will meet Oneonta on Wednesday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex at 2 p.m. Wednesday February 26. The other semifinal game, between Anniston and Calera, will take place at 5 p.m. Wednesday.