By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Newton had no answer for New Site’s Krystal Jackson in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 2A state championship game.
The referee’s whistle did.
Jackson, who scored 14 of her game-high 29 points in the final quarter, fouled out with 2 minutes, 1 second remaining in the Lady Royals’ 77-73 loss to Newton at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Jackson left the physical contest after being called for a charge on a drive to the basket with her team trailing 69-66. She had picked up her fourth foul earlier in the period.
“We were making a pretty good run and they called a charge on Krystal … that broke our back,” a disappointed New Site coach Byron Sparks said. “She put us on her back and was taking it to the basket and scoring.”
New Site (31-2) trailed 52-46 entering the fourth quarter.
Jackson, after a turnover by a teammate, asked Sparks what he needed her to do. “I told her, ‘I want you to take it,’ he said. “She said, ‘That’s what I wanted to hear.’ ”
Jackson scored 14 of the Lady Royals’ next 18 points. Her 3-point play, which included a driving layup, gave New Site a 64-63 lead with 4:21 remaining.
“I knew I had to do something,” Jackson said. “Time was running out. We didn’t expect this one to be handed to us.”
Even with Jackson out, the Royals closed Newton’s lead to two points four times in the final 2 minutes.
The last time was on a free throw by Bree Harris with 6.9 seconds left, 75-73.
Shakara Edwards, one of two Lady Tigers with 20 points, iced the win with two free throws at the 5.2 mark.
Newton (31-3) got the big perimeter bang it had experienced all season from guards Edwards, Tineshia Evans and Tramekia Walker. The three connected on eight 3-pointers, five in the third quarter, to power their club.
“They’re a quick team and can shoot,” Jackson said. “They just kept knocking them down.”
Sparks said his team gave up the perimeter at times to protect inside. “You give up some shots when you do that,” he said.
Evans also scored 20 points while Walker added 12. Ashtin McNichols scored 17.
For New Site, Darrah Pharr scored 18 points and Harris 10.