Lady Panthers clinch a spot in 1A state title game

Jackson- Pine Grove entered this contest knowing they were one game away from another goal, a state championship game berth.

Loren Elliot knew what was at stake in the first quarter. Elliot dropped 11 of the team’s 17 first quarter points giving Pine Grove a 17-7 lead at the end of one quarter.

Haley Vick established herself in the second quarter with the first five points. Vick credits Coach Bates’ ability to uplift and encourage as her jumpstart to the second quarter.

“She kept cheering me on. She was telling me to keep on driving and don’t get down on myself. Normally when I get down on myself I just shut down and she knows that so she just kept cheering me on.”

Pine Grove held a 23-15 lead at the half.

The Lady Panthers matched their first half scoring output in the third quarter with 23 points in those eight minutes.

“We came out, the score was 23-15, and we knew that if we backed down that Durant would end up coming back and we did not want that to happen,” said Vick.

The third quarter proved to be the knockout blow to Durant.

It was a welcoming sight for Coach Bates to see Megan Hill and Haley Vick open the third quarter with two 3-pointers. Bates said she wanted them to shoot more after struggling in the quarterfinals from behind the arc. She believes those made threes is a boost of confidence going forward.

Pine Grove defeated Durant, 50-35, advancing to the 1A state championship game against Leake County.

Night in and night out, Pine Grove’s defense is as solid as they come. But if they are able to shoot the ball effectively along with the rest of the offense, watch out because a gold ball maybe coming to Pine Grove.

Pine Grove plays Leake County Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum.


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