Behind the play of Jayla Alexander and Olivia Knight, Pearl was able to hold off Terry to claim the MHSAA Girls Class 6A State Championship at the Mississippi Coliseum on Saturday night.
It is the Lady Pirates (32-1) second state title in school history and first state title since 1994.
“This is unbelievable. This was all for my wife,” said Pearl head coach Jason Kennedy, whose took over for his wife Lacy who is deployed overseas in the military. “First thing I’m going to tell my wife on the phone is I love you. This group is very resilient, tough, and we did what we had to do to win the basketball game.”
Even with the game being close Pearl never trailed the entire game.
The Lady Pirates held the edge at the end of the first quarter up 16-12.
With Pearl up 22-21 in the late in the second quarter the Lady Pirates ended the first half on a 11-0 run to go up 33-21 at halftime.
“We didn’t play very well because of nerves in a championship game. Heck I had nerves,” Kennedy said. “They did a good job of slowing us down and we had chances to extend the lead and didn’t. We would make our runs by pushing the basketball.”
In the third quarter Pearl’s lead got cut to eight points, but the Lady Pirates ended the quarter up 43-33.
In the fourth quarter Terry would cut the lead to eight, however Pearl would end the game on a 12-5 run to pull away.
“It was dog fight. The girls didn’t buy in to all the hype, they knew we had to come in here and execute,” Kennedy said. “We talked about having grit the last two days to come out here and get it done and they did.”
Jayla Alexander had a game-high 20 points to lead Pearl, while Makayla Minett added 13 points for the Lady Pirates. Jade Miles and Olivia Knight each chipped in 10 points for Pearl.
“It feels so amazing we’ve so hard for this. This means a lot because we did this for Coach Lacy,” Alexander said. “We just stayed composed through the game because we knew they were going to come at us hard and we got the job done.”
Bryanna Taylor had 18 points to lead Terry (26-9).