After a low-scoring first quarter ended with a score of 6-5 in favor of Lanier, things picked up for the Lady Braves. South Jones outscored Lanier 40-32 in the final three periods on the way to a 45-38 win in the 5A girl's state semifinals.
South Jones advances to the 5A girl's state championship game for the second year in a row. The Lady Braves beat Center Hill in the first round of the state tournament in 2012 before falling to Oxford in the championship. However, this year's team returned no starters from the 2011-2012 squad, who all graduated. "This is a new group to the court. They didn't have a lot of game experience coming in," head coach Sherri Cooley said.
One of the few girls who had some game experience heading into the 2012-2013 season was Shania Posey, and that experience showed Tuesday afternoon. Posey led the way for South Jones with 24 points and seven rebounds. Cooley said she was not surprised at all by Posey's great game Tuesday, even against such a tough opponent. "I know she's capable of doing it. That's what I tell her all the time is attack because I know that she can do it." After the game a soft spoken Posey simply said she "kept her focus, and played for her team."
After the win to propel the Lady Braves into the state championship game, Cooley talked about all the hard work that went into getting the team to this point. A sentiment echoed by senior guard Janae Keyes, who says she is excited for the chance to bring a state title back to Ellisville. "It feels really good. We've worked hard for it, and this is what we've been looking forward to."
South Jones will face Canton in the 5A girl's state title game Saturday afternoon at 1 pm in Jackson.