SHELBY – The Broad Street Lady Jaguars have not sniffed success in the basketball playoffs in a while, but on Monday night that all changed when they defeated the West Union Lady Eagles 67-65 here in the first round of 1A State Girls Basketball Playoffs.
Broad Street improved to 17-5 on the year, while the Lady Eagles finished the year 11-24.
“The biggest thing was trying to get my team not to overlook this team,” said Broad Street head coach Darnell McNeal. “When you’ve had so much success in the regular season you think it carries over, but every team understands now it’s win or go home and so they are bringing their A-game and West Union brought that tonight. They are a good, well coached team.”
Jekeja Hemmingway continued her brilliant play in her senior campaign pouring in 23 points on the night. She did most of her damage in the first quarter by scoring 16 points.
“KeJa has been playing great all year. We have become close on the court and we have become a duo and we try to carry the team and with the help from Destiny, and the other younger players we have had success,” said Tonniesha Bell, BSH senior guard.
“It feels good to be able to depend on the younger players because we needed them in this game tonight,” Bell added.
Broad Street led at halftime 43-34, but the Lady Eagles led by former Cleveland High Head Coach Jenny McCullough came out in the third on a mission to get back in the ball game.
A series of trading baskets led to a 52-49 Broad Street lead in the third. Mikebra Morris hit two back-to-back corner jump shots to give the Lady Jaguars a 56-49 advantage, but West Union’s Annie Orman scored a basket and following a Broad Street turnover, Jenny Thompson scored a bucket to close out the period to cut Broad Street’s lead to 56-53.
In the final quarter the game flowed into a 63-63 tie with 1:39 left in the game. With 1:31 remaining, Hemmingway scored on a layup for a 65-63 Broad Street lead and after a Morris steal, Bell raced up court and scored on a layup for a 67-63 lead with 1:13 left in the game.
West Union was able to add two free throws with 31 seconds remaining in the game for a 67-65 game, but couldn’t get the ball back as Broad Street was able to play keep-a-way to secure the win.
Bell joined Hemmingway in the scoring with 17 points. Mashantiara Davis added nine points and Morris scored four points in the win.
Broad Street will host Tremont in the second round at 7 p.m. Friday.