Lady Trojans avenge last season’s loss with 49-40 win over Ramsay

Published 1:55 pm Saturday, February 15, 2020

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MONTGOMERY, AL – The last time Charles Henderson High lost a girls basketball contest was one year ago in Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum at the hands of Ramsay High, and Saturday morning the No. 2 Lady Trojans avenged that defeat with a 49-40 win over the AHSAA No. 1 ranked Rams in the opening game of the Class 5A Southeast Regional Tournament.

CHHS advances to the championship game Wednesday at 9 a.m. against Sylacauga, a 41-34 winner over Valley Saturday.

For 12 months CHHS head coach Dyneshia Jones had thought about the 42-40 loss to Ramsay a year ago, and Saturday morning she and her players put those bad thoughts to rest.

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“It’s amazing how I have been dreaming about this conversation, as far as when they beat us last year, and I always knew what I was going to say,” said Coach Jones. “That was a great team we just played. It was unfortunate that two great teams had to play and one had to go home. My girls were prepared mentally, last year they (Ramsay) were prepared overall. Ramsay ended up scoring more points last year, and mentally they were ready for us. We know all about them. We watched film and knew their weaknesses and their strengths.”

CHHS, ranked No. 2 in the final state rankings in Class 5A and improving to 26-0, was led by senior Samira Moore with 25 points and 16 rebounds, one block and two steals. Moore was haunted the past 12 months by the memory of two missed free throws in the final seconds a year ago, and while it was a suffocating Ramsay defense and numerous CHHS turnovers that made the difference, it is the memory of those missed free throws that she has not been able to shake.

“Today we just had to stay down on defense and run our plays right,” said Moore. “I missed the free throws last year that did not end the game, but it ended the game. This year just feels amazing.”

CHHS trailed early in the contest 6-2, but tied the score on a layup by Moore at 6-6 and never was behind again.

Kristian Jackson hit a free throw with 3:36 to go in the first half for an 11-point 19-8 lead, and CHHS pulled away to a 23-12 halftime advantage.

Ramsay again applied the defensive pressure as they came out in the third quarter, forced some turnovers, and cut the lead to 27-24 with 1:49 to go in the third quarter.

CHHS led again by as much as six points at 36-30 on a layup by Moore with 4:12 to go in the fourth quarter, with Ramsay getting a three-pointer by Elisa Saffold seconds later to make it 36-33. Ramsay would not get any closer.

Moore scored eight points in the final three minutes, including a layup with 0:58 remaining for a 49-39, 10-point CHHS advantage.

In addition to Moore’s 25 points, Niaira Jones scored 10 points, Mykyia Milton had seven, Makayla Hobdy six and Kristian Jackson one point.

Ramsay was led by Keira Griffin with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Coach Jones said that the pressure defense Ramsay presented last year was the difference maker, and this year CHHS was ready.

“The difference today was that, mentally, we were talking to them throughout the game,” said Coach Jones, “We only played six players today. Last year we were tired going through their press. Today we got them through that mentally. We knew they were going to press and switch defenses in the second half, and they did. They came back, but it was all about calling a time out and making an adjustment and letting them know everything was fine.

For Naiara “Tootie” Jones, Saturday’s win was a thrill to avenge the defeat of a year ago.

“It feels amazing,” said Jones. “We had a lot of practice, and we watched a lot of film, to see what happened a year ago and what we could do better. It feels great. Today we were up by 10 at halftime, just like a year ago, but we let them press us and we made a lot of mistakes. This year we kept our composure and we came through.”

CHHS will face Sylacauga Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. in Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum with the winner advancing to the state 5A Final Four to be played in Birmingham.