Lady Eagles’ season ends with OT loss to Locust Fork


By Stan Veitch/Sports Correspondent

Take two quality teams, both built around defense, and add a familiarity with each other.

What do you get? 

A recipe for a very good basketball game.

That is exactly what happened on Saturday (Feb. 20) when Locust Fork defeated Hokes Bluff, 61-59, in overtime in a Class 3A Northeast Regional semifinal matchup at Jacksonville State.

“We played (Locust Fork) last year and knew they had a lot coming back,” Eagle coach Jason Shields said. “We knew that if both of us did our jobs, we’d meet again (at the regional).”

In the first half, which ended with Hokes Bluff (28-3) ahead by a 20-17 margin, both teams had some trouble finding the range for shooting.

At halftime, the Eagles had hit only 7-of-20 (35 percent) from the field and only 2-of-10 (20 percent) on 3-pointers.

Meanwhile, the Hornets (29-1) found the net only 7-of-28 (25 percent) times in the first half. They hit only 2-of-11 (18 percent) on 3-point attempts.

“I didn’t feel like we shot like we’re capable of,” Locust Fork coach Barbara Roy said. “And a lot of that was because of (Hokes Bluff’s) defense. They’re a very good defensive team.”

Shields said, “We take pride in our defense. If you play good defense, you can stay in the game against anybody.”

At intermission, Hokes Bluff had held the Hornets to having no one in double digit scoring. Jaime Gail Hudson led with nine points. She finished the game with 15 points and eight boards along with five steals.

The Eagles were almost in the same boat, except that Kendall Johnson had tallied 10 points by intermission. She finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The shooting percentage improved substantially in the second half, as Hokes Bluff shot 12-of-21 (57 percent) from the field and hit 5-of-6 (83 percent) from beyond the arc. Locust Fork connected on 11-of-19 (58 percent) from the field and hit 6-of-12 (50 percent) on 3s.

Regulation ended with a 53-all tie, as the Hornets Kimberly Horton hit only 1-of-2 free throws with 24 seconds remaining. Johnson came away with the rebound and Shields called timeout with 12 seconds left.

Tylynn Johnson tried a jump shot with :02 on the clock, by it was blocked by Locust Fork’s Ashlyn Adkins.

The overtime period started with Adkins connecting on a 3-pointer. Johnson and Register then hit back-to-back shots to give the Eagles a 57-56 lead. 

Adkins put her team back ahead with two free throws, but it was followed by a Register layup. 

Madison Cater of Locust Fork sank a layup to give the Hornets the lead, and Jaime Gail Hudson hit 1-of-2 free throws with five seconds left for the final margin.

The Eagles tried to get the ball down the court for a good shot, but Jaime Gail Hudson was fouled and hit only 1-of-2 free throws.

Sydney Ball rebounded with :05 still showing on the clock. The Eagles attempted to get the ball back downcourt, but the Hornet defense caused a turnover, sealing the victory.

For the Eagles, Register ended the game with 19 points. Ball had 14 points and eight boards.

Adkins tallied 23 points and Kimberly Horton ended with 15 points.

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