Lady Trojans Clinch eighth straight Elite 8 appearance

Published 5:12 pm Monday, February 20, 2023

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On Monday, Feb. 20, the Charles Henderson Lady Trojans (17-9) secured their eighth straight appearance in the Class 5A Elite 8 with a thrilling 46-45 win over the Williamson Lady Lions (16-7) in the 5A Girls Basketball Regional Semifinals in Montgomery.

Both teams battled back-and-forth throughout the game until the final seconds. The Lady Trojans held a slim 11-9 lead going into the second quarter and led 19-17 at halftime. Charles Henderson stretched that lead to 35-30 going into the fourth quarter.

Williamson outscored CHHS 15-11 in the fourth quarter and tied the score with 15 seconds left. Charles Henderson’s KK Hobdy knocked down a free throw with 11 seconds left to give the Lady Trojans the 46-45 lead. Williams was able to draw free throws of their own with 1/10 of a second left on the clock, and a chance to send the game into overtime or win it outright, but both free throw attempts were no good securing Charles Henderson’s spot back in the regional finals.

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Down the stretch, Hobdy converted 6-of-7 free throws in the fourth quarter, mirroring her performance in the regional tournament last season.

“When she starts making them, it’s like a domino effect,” CHHS coach Dyneshia Jones said. “You could tell by her (Hobdy’s) form that she was unstoppable. It was the same exact thing last year.”

Hobdy finished the afternoon with a game-high 21 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, six steals and two blocked shots, while Madison Ousley added nine points and five rebounds. Harmony Hubbard also chipped in with eight points and four rebounds to go along with Deanna Gosha’s eight points and four rebounds.

The Charles Henderson Lady Trojans celebrate their regional semifinal win against Williamson. (Photo by Josh Boutwell)

“Everyone contributed, that’s the thing about Charles Henderson,” Jones emphasized. “I know KK has a lot of experience out there, more than the rest, but a couple of years ago we didn’t have much balance because we were so young. Now, especially in the postseason, they’re getting better and better everyday.”

CHHS finished the afternoon shooting 36.6 percent from the field, while Williamson shot 42.1 percent from the field. The Lady Trojans won the rebound battle 34-27 and forced 17 turnovers.

“They played hard,” Jones said of her team. “I’m excited for our girls. It was a nail-biter, for sure, but I’m satisfied with the way they played.”

The win sets up a rematch on Wednesday in the Class 5A South Regional Finals between Charles Henderson and Eufaula. The two sides met in the finals of the Lake City Classic in Eufaula earlier this season, which Eufaula won.

“They have bigs just like we have bigs and they have some great guards, too,” Jones said of Eufaula. “It will be a tough game but I’m proud we have both of these teams from right here in this same area playing for the championship instead of teams from Mobile representing the region.”

The Lady Trojans will have a chance this Wednesday to punch their ticket to a fourth straight Final Four appearance and sixth appearance in the last seven years. CHHS and Eufaula will face off on Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. in Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum.