HOT SPRINGS -- Jonesboro's hustle overcame Greenwood's bombs-away-shooting mentality Saturday afternoon.
Junior point guard Kayla Mitchell scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds and earned MVP honors as the Lady Hurricane defeated the cold-shooting Lady Bulldogs 57-44 in the Class 6A girls state championship game at Bank of the Ozarks Arena.
Sophomores Elauna Eaton and Kianna Hardaway led Jonesboro (27-7) with 19 and 11 points, respectively, while Greenwood (22-10) struggled from the floor, hitting only 12 of 58 shots, including a 4-of-32 effort on three-pointers.
Greenwood had pulled within 50-42 with 1:16 remaining, but Mitchell's dive for a rebound near midcourt 17 seconds later all but wrapped up Jonesboro's victory.
"Kayla is everywhere," Jonesboro Coach Jodi Christenberry said. "She jumps higher than I am tall, which isn't very tall, but anyway, she did a great job. She is the heartbeat of this team as all point guards should be."
Jonesboro trailed briefly in the first quarter, led 28-24 at the half and scored 12 of the first 16 points of the third quarter. Greenwood went the final 2:43 of the third quarter and the first 6:01 of the fourth quarter without hitting a field goal.
Despite Greenwood's shooting woes, Lady Bulldogs Coach Clay Reeves said it was one of his team's best efforts on defense.
"Going after the ball, rebounding and hustling, it was one our best efforts of the year," Reeves said. "Our biggest struggle tonight was hitting shots. Our kids are good shooters, they're confident shooters. The effort was there, but we couldn't effort them in the basket."
Eaton's 3-footer with 4:31 remaining in the first half gave Jonesboro a 22-13 lead. Greenwood responded with the next nine points, including three-pointers from freshman Kinley Fisher (nine points, five steals) and sophomore Jaelin Glass. Greenwood would miss its next 12 three-point attempts.
Jonesboro junior Sonni Martin completed a three-point play with 1:39 left giving Jonesboro a lead it never relinquished.
"The first part of our game plan was no layups," Christenberry said. "The second part was to run at their threes. It's Greenwood. They are going to get some shots. But if we can get them to take 32 threes to make four baskets, then it's a good thing."
Jonesboro's final 13 points came from the free-throw line. The Lady Hurricane were 20 of 35 from the line, 13 of 19 in the fourth quarter.
Greenwood sophomore Angela Price hit a short jumper with 1:22 remaining to pull Greenwood to within 50-42, but Jonesboro scored the next seven points.
Jonesboro, which was 17 of 47 from the floor, outrebounded Greenwood 52-35. Eaton collected eight of Jonesboro's rebounds while Hardaway came away with seven. Freshman Alley Sockey led Greenwood in rebounding with seven.
The Lady Hurricane also had 10 steals, with Martin and junior Brooklyn Dooley chasing down three each.
Jonesboro’s Elauna Eaton (right) is fouled by Greenwood’s Kaila Cartwright as she takes a shot during Saturday’s Class 6A girls state championship game. Eaton scored 19 points to lead the Lady Hurricane to a 57-44 victory over the Lady Bulldogs.
Sports on 03/11/2018
Print Headline: Hurricane force: Scrappy Jonesboro upends Greenwood