2A Girls State: Jones leads FAMU into Finals
It took a while for defending Class 2A champion Tallahassee FAMU to get going Tuesday in the FHSAA Class 2A girls basketball state semifinals.
But once the Baby Rattlers got going, they were able to pull away for a 76-55 win over Palm Bay Covenant Christian. The Rattlers (29-2) advance to the Class 2A championship game tonight at 8:05.
After trailing after one quarter and holding a four-point lead at the half, FAMU outscored the Lions 48-31 in the second half.
The difference, both teams said, was FAMU’s experience and the Baby Rattlers’ press.
This is FAMU’s sixth consecutive trip to the FHSAA State Championships and its 11th appearance all-time. It was Covenant Christian’s first trip ever.
“They’ve obviously been here before,” Covenant Christian coach E.J. Murray said. “They’re a little bit deeper and a little bit bigger and that really took a toll on our girls.”
So did FAMU’s press, as well as Rattlers senior Jazmine Jones, a Louisville signee who led all scorers with 34 points.
The press helped FAMU force Covenant Christian into 23 turnovers, and it led to a 33-4 advantage for the Rattlers in points off of turnovers.
“Our gift is defense and I always said our offense would come after our defense picks up,” FAMU coach Ericka Cromartie said.
Guards Erin Turral and LaKrista Walker, who scored 15 and 14 points respectively, also led FAMU with a combined seven steals while Jones added three more.
“That’s what we did the whole year because we knew defense wins games and that starts with the guards,” Walker said.
Covenant Christian, led by Alexis Gordon’s 19 points and 15 by seventh-grader Jasmine Peaks, stayed close to FAMU throughout the first half with a patient offense and the ability to get inside. In the second half, FAMU picked up the tempo with its press and that took the Lions out of their game, Gordon said.
“Our goal was to attack them and keep it under control,” Gordon said. “Like coach said, the press did kind of speed up the game. We did have a little trouble with that.”
Covenant Christian finishes the year 22-7.