Holy Spirit wanted to set the tone early, and that’s exactly what happened.
The Titans made easy work of Choctaw County in the Class 2A Central Regional semifinals, cruising to a 56-33 victory on Thursday.
“It’s really important for us to go out there and play hard and we have to set the momentum, otherwise we might play down to the other team’s level. But when we get out there and start doing what we normally do, the game goes in our favor,” said Aeriel Winn, who led the Titans with 12 points and eight assists.
Ayana Tyree and Caroline Sisson each had 11 points for Holy Spirit. Aryn Head chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“Coming back (to the regional finals) it feels kind of normal now, but it’s still exciting,” Sisson said. “We love coming here and playing. We don’t want to stop, so we just play as hard as we can.”
The Titans scored 23 points off turnovers and held Choctaw County to 24 percent shooting.
“The way we came out, we wanted to set the tone fast and quick,” Holy Spirit coach Char-Lette Jones-Pruitt said. “That’s basically what we wanted to do. And I’m proud of these five right here who actually did it for us today. They just motivate each other, went out and played hard.”
The Tigers had traded the lead with Lanett all game, but in the closing minutes, it slipped away.
In a game that featured 43 combined turnovers, it was the last few that made the difference. Lanett ended the game on an 11-4 run.
“We turned the ball over three times, back-to-back-to-back when it was 35-35, and that’s when the pulled away,” Calhoun coach Eddie Howard said. “And we just didn’t get the momentum back.”
Ataiya Bridges scored 20 points and dished three assists for Lanett. Alecea Sharpe had 13 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Lanett scored 22 points off of turnovers, and had 12 fast break points.
Amber Harris led Calhoun with 12 points. The Tigers shot just 3-for-13 and had six turnovers in the fourth quarter.
“We just had a couple of mental breakdowns at the end there,” Howard said. “It was a good game. I thought we should have won. I liked the matchup that we had against them, but it was just a couple of quick layups.”
Ja’kaya Lambert added eight points, seven rebounds and two assists. Ke’Shai Kingka had eight points and eight boards.
“We had a motto, eat an elephant one bite at a time,” Howard said. “So I guess it wasn’t time for us to eat that last bite yet.