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Jackson girls fall to Bluff in district final
The Indians couldn't finish their rally as they fell to the Mules 48-40.
JACKSON -- Poplar Bluff's Jasmin Sumrall was unfazed when Jackson staged a late comeback against her team Friday night.
The Indians, after trailing by as many as 12 points in third quarter, stormed back to make it a one-point deficit with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left in their Class 5 District 1 girls basketball championship game.
Sumrall said watching Jackson rally made her team more determined not to lose.
"Last time we played them, we got out to a lead and then they came back," she said. "We were just determined that that was not going to happen again."
Sumrall scored six points, including a momentum-changing 3-pointer and a 3-for-4 performance from the foul line, in the last 5:05 of the contest to help the Mules hold on for a 48-40 win.
"I knew if we were going to win, I was going to have to hit those," Sumrall said. "There is nothing else I could do. I had to hit those shots.
"This is the farthest I've ever been in districts. It's unbelievable. It's the greatest feeling in the world."
Sumrall finished with 17 points.
The Mules held Jackson's top scorers -- Ashten Howard and Kelci Keith -- at bay most of the game. Howard led her team with 10 points, while Keith added eight.
"We wanted to be district champs at the least, but they played real well," Howard said. "We did have good effort. It just didn't happen for us."
Jackson (13-11) took a 10-6 lead in the first 4:02 of the contest. But the Mules used an 11-0 run over the last 3:39 of the quarter to enter the second period ahead 17-10.
Poplar Bluff increased its lead to 12 points at 24-12 about midway through the second quarter. It held four different 12-points leads during the second quarter before heading into the break with a nine-point lead at 31-22.
Sumrall said the Mules, who primarily played a man-to-man defense, focused much of their effort on stopping Howard and Keith, who combined for six first-half points.
The Mules also were helped by Keith getting in early foul trouble with three in the first half, which forced her to sit most of the second period.
"I think we did OK [shutting down Howard and Keith]," Sumrall said. "We could have picked it up a little bit better on defense, but they were what we were focusing on. ... Those were our main people to shut down. I think we did a pretty good job."
Howard added about the Mules' defense: "They're always on you. They play really tough and they're strong. They're right in your face, so it's hard to get a shot off."
Poplar Bluff maintained a steady lead for most of the third quarter, leading by as many as 12 points.
But Jackson rallied to bring the score to within 36-33 with 1:46 remaining in the third before Poplar Bluff made it 38-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
Howard scored a basket inside off a pass from Keith early in the fourth quarter which made it 38-35. Keith then drove in for a layup less than a minute later to make it 38-37 with 5:45 left.
But Sumrall never allowed Jackson to complete its comeback. She knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:05 left to give the Mules a 41-37 advantage.
"When Sumrall banked that 3-pointer, that killed us," Jackson coach Sam Sides said. "We got right back in it and had momentum going our way. ... That broke our back."
Sumrall then converted her attempts from the free-throw line, and Poplar Bluff won by eight.
Jackson shot 12-for-32 on two-pointers (38 percent) and 2-for-9 on 3-pointers (22 percent).
"We hardly haven't been breaking the 30-point barrier, so I was glad we got to 40 points," Sides said. "I told them if we get to 40 points, we have a chance to win because we have a hard time scoring 40 points per game. We got to 40 points. That's as far as we got."
Jackson (40) --Cody Goodpasture 7, Cassandra Bollinger 6, Ashten Howard 10, Whitney McNeely 8, Kelci Keith 8, Landon Wachter 1. FG 14-41, FT 10-18, F 21. (3-pointers: Keith 2. Fouled out: Goodpasture)
Poplar Bluff (48) -- Ruthie Johnson 7, Jasmin Sumrall 17, Stefanie Fergusan 6, Allie Pattillo 7, Aereill Davis 2, Natalie Stonecipher 7, Tori Williams 2. FG 16, FT 12-20, F 18 (3-pointers: Sumrall 2, Pattillo 1, Johnson 1. Fouled out: none)