heartbreak: Wenonah proves too much for CHHS

Published 9:20 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2016

BIRMINGHAM – Senior India Blakely put up 23 points in her final game as a Trojan, but it wasn’t enough as the CHHS squad lost to Wenonah 51-53 in the Class 5A state semifinals on Wednesday.

“They fought hard and they gave it their all,” said Trojans head coach Dyneshia Jones. “I told them that from the beginning, nobody expected us to make it this far. Overall I am not mad about today; I am still proud of them.”

The team had rallied to send Blakely, its lone senior, to the Final Four of the AHSAA championships.

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“She wanted it,” Jones said. “She talked to me before the game started and she said she was ready.”

Blakely led the Trojans’ scoring in the first half, putting up 18 points including converting six of her eight shots and going 4-4 from behind the arc.

“I just wanted to win,” said Blakely. “I knew this was my last go around so I was just going to play hard.”

Blakely and Wenonah’s Alexus Dye battled for baskets in the first half, and Dye shot six of 10 from the field. Led by Dye, the Dragons dominated the inside and outscored the Trojans 28-10 in the first half.

Freshman Maori Davenport and eighth-grader Niaira Jones kept the Trojans in the game in the third period. The two players combined to score 10 points in the quarter as the Trojans outscored the Dragons 12-9.

The Dragons took a one point lead into the fourth quarter. With 6:43 remaining the game things swung in the Dragons’ favor.

The Trojans went the entire first three quarters without making a substitution. In the early stages of the fourth quarter Coach Jones was forced to sit Davenport after she picked up her fourth foul. After inserting Brittany Brundidge, Coach Jones decided to insert her star freshman back into the lineup just 24 seconds later.

Just as quickly as she returned, she was forced to sit after committing her fifth foul on her first defensive possession back on the floor.

“I would rather lose with her (Davenport) in the game than keeping her out,” Jones said.

“I would rather take that chance. As soon as I took her out there was a quick turnover. It was a coach’s decision.”

From the 6:43 mark until the final horn sounded, the Dragons outscored the Trojans 16-5 to secure the win.

“Her (Davenport) fouling out was the key,” Jones said.

“She wasn’t playing her game the way Maori wanted to play basketball. This is one of our key players and leading scorers, so if you take her out of the game it’s going to make a big difference.”

Blakely led the Trojan scorers with 23 points. Davenport finished the game with 12 points, and Jones also finished in double figures with 11.

“We plan on coming back next year,” Coach Jones said.

“We are going to do the same thing , same program and same weight program. We plan on coming back, if they keep their fire in their heart and stay hungry.”