Charles Henderson’s title defense ends with loss to Ramsay

Published 12:24 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2019

MONTGOMERY – A swarming, suffocating Ramsay High defense forced numerous second-half turnovers as the Lady Trojans of Charles Henderson High saw a 10-point lead evaporate, and the Lady Rams winning 44-42 in the championship game of the AHSAA Class 5A, Southeast Regional Tournament Wednesday morning in Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum.

CHHS, the defending Class 5A state champions, led 29-19 at halftime and as much as 10 again early in the third quarter, but the backcourt press of the Lady Rams was too much for the Lady Trojans to overcome.

On the day, CHHS committed 24 turnovers, and led only 32-30 entering the fourth quarter. Ramsay, ranked No. 1 in the state in the end-of-season Class 5A poll, took a 39-38 lead with 4:22 to play in the contest and never trailed again, holding on for the 44-42 win.

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Ramsay, improving to 27-7, will advance to the Final Four in Birmingham next week, while CHHS ends its season at 25-7.

“Let me say that I am very proud of my girls,” said CHHS Lady Trojan Head Coach Dyneshia Jones “Everyone has their dreams of making it to state and winning state, and those were our dreams once again. We fought hard and worked hard throughout the season. I just want to let everyone know that I am proud of these girls.

“I think our turnovers in the second half hurt us. We were up by 10, but we had a very bad third quarter. The turnovers hurt us tremendously. We knew that Ramsay was going to come in and press, and we have got to learn how to handle that.”

Coach Jones said that Ramsay made second-half adjustments, specifically on the defensive press, that caused big problems.

“They (CHHS Lady Trojans) knew the game plan, it’s just all about us not adjusting and rotating when we should have been. I guess just the excitement of Ramsay coming back threw us off a little bit,” said Coach Jones. “It was the press break, then we started throwing the ball away, and then just turnovers in general. Even my point guard that averages five or six assists, she did not have any.”

CHHS will say goodbye to three talented seniors, Maori Davenport who has signed with Rutgers, Tatyana Siler who has signed with the Air Force Academy – both Division 1 programs – as well as senior guard Tanner Moore.

“I’ve been with these girls since elementary school,” said Coach Jones, “It’s going to be big and it’s going to be hard adjusting while they are gone. Of course, Tatyana and Maori will be playing ball somewhere and I am very proud of them. Every year someone loses players, and I am losing two D-1 athletes. But I know right now we still have some good players on the team so we still have to move forward from this point.”

The Lady Trojans had an opportunity to tie the game with 0:06 to play on a one-and-one free throw situation, but the first show went wide, Ramsay rebounded, and CHHS did not get the ball again. After the game, Coach Jones was positive in her words to her players.

“I told them to keep their head up, and that Ramsay is a great team,” said Coach Jones. “They (Ramsay) lost one player from last year, they lost in the finals to Hazel Green last year, so we knew it was going to be a tough game, but in the end I was just trying to console my players because we missed that one-and-one at the end, but that did not cost us the game. We missed a lot of shots, we missed a lot of layups and we did not box out sometimes.”

Coach Jones gave all credit to Ramsay, and never questioned the effort or execution of her players.

“Ramsay is very aggressive and I knew it would be close,” said Coach Jones. “Even though I prepared them for everything, it was just once again being able to handle their press, and that is what Ramsay is good at.

“Overall, we lost as a team, and as a coach I’m going to be thinking about what I would’a, could’a, should’a done, to make it better, to get that win. But it’s all on me, not the girls, but on me.”

CHHS was led in scoring by Siler with 15 points, Niaira Jones added nine, Samira Moore eight, Davenport eight and Makala Hobdy two points.

Davenport had 18 rebounds while Moore grabbed 10.