Prattville Christian coach Jason Roberson has seen it many instances prior to now 5 years.
When his crew is struggling and in determined want of a carry, enter Coco Thomas.
On Tuesday night time, the 5-foot-11 senior scored 20 factors and pulled down 19 rebounds, serving to the Panthers to a 52-37 victory over New Hope within the Class 4A state semifinals.
“Coco is a warrior,” Roberson stated of his Shelton State signee. “I’ve been teaching her for 5 years. She performed slightly in eighth grade and began within the ninth. I’ve witnessed her being a warrior on many events. There have been instances when, for no matter motive, a lot of our different gamers had been struggling. In these conditions, each single time Coco stepped up. She did at present, too.”
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Prattville Christian (33-3) trailed solely briefly at 3-0 however had bother pulling away from New Hope (23-6). The Panthers led 24-16 on the half and 38-31 getting into the ultimate quarter. The Indians minimize the deficit to 38-34 on a basket and free throw by Lauren Busbey with 7:01 left within the recreation.
However there was Thomas once more. Her financial institution shot bumped the margin to 40-34 and sparked an 11-3 run to shut the sport. Thomas and 6-foot-2 Hannah Jones mixed for 30 factors and 33 rebounds.
“They’re stellar,” New Hope coach Craig McGill stated. “Coco goes to Shelton State, the most effective junior school within the state. Hannah goes to play volleyball at Memphis however might play school basketball if she wished. It’s powerful taking part in towards two school gamers who’re 6-2 and 5-11 and we don’t have anybody over 5-10. However I assumed we fought. I’m at peace. We gave it all the pieces we had. Someone has to win, and any individual has to lose.”
Prattville Christian will play for its third straight title – and first in 4A – on Friday towards Priceville. The Panthers gained the final two state titles in 3A earlier than transferring up.
“We wished to embrace the transfer to 4A,” Roberson stated. “We wished to make it one thing new and thrilling. We battled all 12 months, put in a ton of labor. I feel they’ve loved taking part in in a brand new classification.”
Star of the sport: It was clearly Thomas. She was 9-of-17 from the sphere and 2-of-3 from the foul line. Ten of her 19 rebounds had been offensive.
Stat recreation: Prattville Christian – Ally Blankenship, usually a key defender on the crew, turned offensive on Tuesday, scoring 12 factors on 4 3-pointers. Jones had 10 factors and 14 rebounds. New Hope – Lauren Busbey had 13 factors, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks and three steals. Kaylee Yarbrough adopted with 12 factors and Jada Bates had 10.
By the numbers: New Hope was simply 8-of-38 from the sphere (21 p.c) and 2-of-11 from 3 (18 p.c). PCA was 19-of-55 from the sphere (34.5 p.c) and 5-of-25 from 3-point vary (20 p.c). The Panthers dominated the boards, profitable the rebounding battle 49-25 and outscoring the Indians 26-8 within the paint and 23-4 on second-chance factors.
They stated it:
“We take what different groups give us. It’s so simple as that. We belief all our gamers. If we’re open, we’re going to take the photographs as a result of we imagine they’ll go in.” – Roberson on his crew getting 17 3-point makes an attempt from Blankenship and key participant Avery Rogers taking simply three photographs within the recreation.
“The 1-3-1 protection they ran was tremendous powerful. We couldn’t run something we usually run. We ready for it for 3 days towards the boys, however in some way these ladies at present performed slightly otherwise. Jada had a tough time seeing over it. She began attacking it within the second half, and that labored higher. Nevertheless it was my plan, and it was on me.” – McGill.
“5 years in the past, when coach got here in, he instructed me we had been going to win the realm. I used to be like, ‘What is that this man considering?’ He instructed us we had been going to go to state. I used to be like, ‘Has he ever seen us earlier than?’ I might have by no means thought we might have made it this far.” – Busbey.
Subsequent up: Prattville Christian will play Priceville at 4 p.m. Friday for the state title.
“I feel they’re wonderful,” Roberson stated of his subsequent opponent. “In the event you come out of a area with Good Hope and Deshler, you might be in all probability the most effective crew in 4A. We’ll go in because the underdog and see if we are able to hold with them. They’re mighty good.”
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