DOTHAN – With 30 seconds left, Kelly Joyner jogged off the court to the end of the bench, sat down and hid her face in her jersey. It was that kind of day for St. James.
After a strong first quarter, the Trojans struggled mightily and fell 47-35 to UMS-Wright today in the Class 4A South Regional semifinal.
St. James held a 15-9 lead after the first, but only scored nine points combined in the second and third to trail 36-24 heading into the final quarter.
The Trojans (24-6) went through a 10:05 minute drought in the second and third quarters when they missed nine straight shots and had eight turnovers. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (28-3) were able to go on an 11-0 run and take control of the game.
“I thought we played a very good first quarter and a very good fourth quarter,” St. James coach Katie Barton said. “I talked to the girls before the game that our focus was on us and not so much on UMS, and I felt like we had to produce offensively. We hit a few buckets in that drought and it’s a different ball game.”
The Bulldogs scored 23 points off of St. James’ 19 turnovers, 13 of which came in the first half. The Trojans held their own in the fourth quarter, but by then it was too little too late.
“We matched them 11 to 11 in the fourth quarter, and that was with us giving them free throws,” Barton said. “I guess I could’ve ate it, but I kind of like to go down swinging.
Joyner did all she could to help the Trojans in their first regional appearance since 2009, leading the way with 17 points, but was held to four in the second half.
Carrie Crook led UMS-Wright with 16 points and McKenzie Courtney scored 13.
“It’s very frustrating, especially when you keep taking shots that you were making in the first quarter and nothing is falling,” Joyner said. “I don’t think anything changed, we just stopped making shots.”